Warner Bros. So Thrilled With Netflix 28-Day Delays, It Wants To Have Longer Delays

from the driving-fans-to-piracy dept

Hollywood continues to seek new and ever-more creative ways to shoot itself in the foot and drive movie fans to unauthorized copies of movies. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. studios was successful in pressuring Netflix and Redbox to delay rental releases by 28-days, with the hope that people who couldn’t rent the movie would buy it. Warner Bros. has been claiming this strategy succeeded and that they’ve sold more DVDs because of it. I would doubt that it’s the delay that’s increasing sales, and it seems like a pretty short-sighted strategy to look to increase sales of a format like DVD right now. Either way, Warner Bros. is now claiming it may try to increase the window over 28-days. It’s as if they want to drive more people to get the movie from unauthorized providers. Making it more difficult to let people watch movies the way they want to isn’t a solution that will work long-term.

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Companies: netflix, redbox, warner bros.

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Comments on “Warner Bros. So Thrilled With Netflix 28-Day Delays, It Wants To Have Longer Delays”

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58 Comments
Rose M. Welch (profile) says:

Streaming, FTW.

I saw this on the Consumerist site, and it’s chock-full of people just like me who wouldn’t get the movie until two or three months after its release anyway, because we’re too busy watching the awesome streaming to bother to use the discs…

If they choose to delay the availability of new releases by 28 more days in exchange for greater streaming access to Warner’s catalog, I’m all for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Streaming, FTW.

yes, i am commenting on my own comment…

but, there is alot of money to be made in impatience. and the studios know it.

eventually you will be able to see avatar for free. it will be on ABC on sunday, or what have you. But you will have to wait. and a lot of people didn’t they wanted to see it now. then when it came out on dvd, they had to own it now.

me? i waited. i have impatient friends, they bought it, and i watched it at their place.

so be patient. they are making money on your impatience. a 28 day wait for a netflix movie? seriously? you think you’ll be able to get iron man 2 in the mail the day it was out? they only have so many, chances are you were going to wait a month anyway.

but if that 28 days buys me countless movies from the 80’s and 90’s, or even newer ones, then bring it on. i can wait. i’d rather have the streaming library increase.

make a release window. it is fine. i’ll still wait. i have 300 entries in my netflix streaming que, most of which are series. i can watch stuff for a long time before i’ll miss iron man.

now… mike may say they could make MORE money by not playing on my impatience but giving us what we want… and that is probably valid as well. but in this case? give me the streaming library.

Christopher Gizzi (profile) says:

Why Windows Don't Work For Me

First, I don’t buy DVDs much at all anymore. They take up too much space in my apartment and I almost always watch a movie once or twice ever. If I buy a movie, its for a really good movie that’s destined to be a “classic.”

If I’m looking for something to watch, I’m going to use my delivery method of choice to find something. I’m not looking for a specific movie per se. I’m looking for something to fill time – almost anything will do. I have no intention of buying this movie and wouldn’t “rent” a movie I want to buy. I’m not going to Blockbuster or even RedBox because that requires me to actually get up out of my chair and spend energy on travel.

So I’m going to stream. But because I don’t care about the latest releases (again… just passing time here), I don’t care how long the window is. If a movie isn’t available on Netflix Streaming (or even as a DVD for that matter) I won’t know the difference – or care. Plus, the “window” just changes the “release date” for people like me. Its no different than WB pushing back the actual sale back 30 days or whatever. The release date is relative and since movies are always getting released, I don’t care that one title was delayed 28 days but available for stream vs some other movie thats in retail stores but not streamable. It will eventually so why should I care?

The issue the movie companies are facing is indifference to the effort needed to see a movie. Who wants to go to Target or Best Buy, pay $30 plus for a movie, stand in a long line, greeted by unskilled “employees” where I’m usually treated poorly, and have to walk or take the subway home to enjoy what I just spent an hour or more buying something I’m only going to watch twice if that.

I suppose this long rant was to say that instant gratification is what people want. If they can’t give them that or delay titles, that’s fine. They’ll find alternatives to the content they want with legal streaming or the actual content they want through less than legal means.

If they want to use windows, fine. It won’t change the way people are consuming content in their homes at all.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why Windows Don't Work For Me

I’m sure you were hoping 2010 would be, and 2009 and 2008 and 2007 and 2006 oh I guess you get the point. Good thing the world is ending in 2012 anyway, only 2 more years of the agony of hoping that linux will take over the desktop ๐Ÿ™‚

I like Linux, but until the Linux crowd stops shooting it’se self in the foot by treating new users like they have no business in their sandbox, Linux has absolutely no chance.

Just try to find out how to fix or change something in Linux, and if you find your answer in under 50 clicks I’s be totally shocked.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Why Windows Don't Work For Me

PCLinuxOS

You should be able to wipe windows, partition and install Linux, as well as any needed apps, update all, being ready to go, with no issues to fix, in less than 50 clicks.

Use the LiveCD first. If it works, install.

I just put it on a Dell Lattitude(?) last night. Took an hour and a half to do above (I wasn’t impressed with the 830MB of updates. Get the newest release to avoid this and save time.).

AW says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Why Windows Don't Work For Me

Netflix doesn’t work natively in ‘Nix why is this even an issue? Also Linux and Microsoft are just as easy to search for fixes for, people forget that since you have more control of your system with most versions of Linux it’s easier to break things and updates come a lot faster, but most average users could get along fine with Linux unless they require specific games or software, though many can run in Linux nowadays.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why Windows Don't Work For Me

“First, I don’t buy DVDs much at all anymore”

So true, as for me I bought one single DVD set in my entire life, no kiding: Star Wars Original Trilogy Collection, the one with the golden box. Everything else I can just wait until it comes out for rent(I have a HUGE list of backed up series to keep me entertained until). If I absolutly can’t wait I resort to “more unorthodox channels” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jim O (profile) says:

Re: Re: Why Windows Don't Work For Me

I have never in my life bought a DVD (I’m 29). I once won a DVD in a raffle, but gave it away after watching it once. I don’t like stuff cluttering up my shelves. I’ve also bought less than 10 CDs in my life… I’m just not interested in owning any kind of physical media (unless it has multiple terabytes worth of data on it).

I have a Netflix subscription with a Boxee laptop (my box will arrive next week).

AC says:

Stupid

Even when my wife worked at a video store, and we could rent all the movies we wanted for free, I downloaded a ton of movies. The maximum of three out at a time, the scheduling of watching on certain days so that they would be ready to return by her next shift, and the plain old hassle of dealing with physical media made it easier to simply download what I wanted to watch.

After her company shut down, we got Netflix, and I haven’t pirated a single movie since. Every single hassle was completely mitigated by the streaming service. Even for $13/month, it’s totally worth it.

I rarely use the discs, so the new releases aren’t usually my thing anyway, but if the mood strikes, and I have the choice between waiting another 3 months or pirating a perfect DVD rip from somebody who didn’t wait, well, I’ve done both, and I know which I would choose.

BigKeithO (profile) says:

Re: Makes no diff..

GTV? Google TV?

There are already stories of studios blocking access to Google TV. They aren’t that stupid. They know Google TV is a threat, they will try their hardest to avoid that threat. Make no mistake about that, soon Google TV will be deemed a national security issue or something and made illegal.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Delay?

Didn’t notice it. I dont use P2P because there are enough ppl in my life that do, and if I want to see something that bad I just ask them for it.

The funny thing is I know someone that has terabytes of downloaded content, and they do it just to do it. They told me that 90% of what they have, they have never even seen. Kind of silly IMHO.

RikuoAmero (profile) says:

They need to change their business model

Just to share my two cents on the whole purchasing of media these days. I’m a hardcore downloader, I even bought two 2TB hard drives to store all my games, movies and music.
However, upon going through what I have, first, all my music is illegaly downloaded apart from a couple of OST’s that came with a game and an Aerosmith album.
But its the movies and games that are going to be though provoking here. Lemme check my hard drive…my video files folder is 507 GB while my Games folder is 739 GB. In both folders are illegaly downloaded files as well as backups of media I actually have bought. In fact, there’s quite a collection in my room I haven’t backed up yet – things like Stargate SG1 and Smallville, both entire series (If I was to a full 1:1 disc dump of those two alone, I estimate it would be larger than 500 GB).
Now, what does this have to do with this article? Simple, when I want digital media, often the foremost thought in my mind is convenience. Would it be easier to download or to buy? In fact, just today, that was what I weighed when I bought Darksiders for PC (I bought it originally for PS3, but gave up Sony for good once they took out Linux, a feature on a piece of hardware I owned – so Sony will not see any of my money ever again). I could have downloaded the game. My preferred method is cyberlockers. But, the hassle of finding links and hoping that the one collection of links I’m downloading from doesn’t get blocked, plus my slow speed (2 Megabit connection), meant I was looking at potentially days of downloading all 13 GB.
Now, however, that is a rare event for me. Most of the time, the convenience of downloading is greater than the convenience of going to the store and buying the disc. If I had Netflix, there would be no convenience to get the movie disc legally. I would then decide to download. I see Warner Bros. actively trying to shut down a legal business model – the rental of movies. You don’t sell your product by limiting access to it as much as possible.
Another thing that has to be fixed is pricing. Just today, in Ireland, I walked into HMV (a DVD/games/music chain). I spotted Ghost in the Shell. Specifically, it was the Stand Alone Complex movies (the first two were compressed versions of the two season anime, while the third was an actual movie sequel). I love Ghost in the Shell. However, the price was 55 euro (that’s about 77 dollars at current market rates). For a three movie boxset that don’t sell that well in Ireland, since anime isn’t as popular here. The discs were there. It would have saved me hours of searching on the web, and downloading, but the price was just too high. That, and I heard the English dub for these movies used a different cast than the one in the actual show, which I actually liked (but that’s beside the point).

To summarise: What Warner Bros. have to figure out, in order to encourage me to buy, is how to balance the two conveniences of downloading versus purchasing. You do not do that if I cannot get at your product legally. And as I said, the pricing. It’s far too high in areas where it shouldn’t be.

Rekrul says:

Re: They need to change their business model

But its the movies and games that are going to be though provoking here. Lemme check my hard drive…my video files folder is 507 GB while my Games folder is 739 GB.

My movie and TV collection is all AVI files, burned to data DVDs. By my estimates, based on the number of disks that I have, I’d say that I have around 6TB of stuff. I don’t have Stargate SG-1 though. It’s not the size/number of episodes that prevent me from getting it, it’s trying to track down good copies of all the seasons from reliable sources. I hate when the filenames just list the title and episode number. What group is it by? Is it a DVDRip? Etc.

I don’t have that many games though. My system is older and can’t play the more recent stuff and a lot of the older stuff doesn’t appeal to me for one reason or another (no in level saving, fixed camera angles, etc).

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Gives me time to forget the ads

There are a lot of times I see an add for a movie and think, “I want to see that.” Almost always that means Netflix or a very rare visit to the theater. With my short attention span, the 28 day gap is usually enough to let me forget about wanting to see a movie when it shows up on Netflix. A longer delay probably means that I will be even less likely to remember a Warner film, so I will a movie made by some other studio and let them earn a bit of royalty.

On a different thread, I wonder how much Blockbuster pays Times-Warner for skipping the delay. I also wonder how long a withering Blockbuster will be around to pay a premium for same-day releases.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think 28 days was a subliminal message about zombies taking the earth.

That is ok though, I don’t buy movies and it has been a decade now.

DRM, ridiculous prices and the general attitude of those companies really put me off.

I used to get angry about those things, not anymore I realized I was angry because I thought they were taking away my fun, when was I being stubborn and not letting it go, I found alternatives to have fun and other places to find interesting stories, contrary to popular belief there are other ways to get entertained without being in front of a box.

Anonymous Coward says:

Warner Bros. Cable double standart

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Time-Warner-Continues-Legal-Assault-On-Community-Fiber-111183

Warner Bros. sued Greenlight(Muni fiber) to get data from its operations, but the funny part is that the same cable companies don’t like to give that information away.

“Wilson now not only has to give up private network information (something Time Warner Cable traditionally fights against at every level), but has to pay Time Warner Cable’s legal fees. Time Warner Cable meanwhile is among the slowest U.S. cable providers when it comes to DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades — preferring apparently to put that money into turf protection, campaign contributions and lawyers.”

So I don’t think they will stop shooting themselves in the foot anytime soon.

They are fueling a sentiment that when it spills it will be uggly, I doubt they will be prepared to what is coming to them.

When people turn their backs on companies it won’t be pretty.

Craig (profile) says:

Fcuking Microsoft Greed

Up here in Canuckistan, we finally have access to Netflix via the Wii and PS3. Today Netflix tells me that I can now use my Xbox so I’m in Netflix heaven…

Until I see that I have to buy a Gold Membership on Xbox Live in order to access Netflix. It’s free to get Netflix on the PS3 and Wii, so it’s pretty obvious I won’t be using my Xbox, which, incidentally, was always my first choice.

Everybody wants their kilo of flesh from the consumer, don’t they?

Colin says:

From Yahoo New's article on the subject

“Don’t like the idea of a longer wait for the latest DVDs? Too bad, said Universal’s home video president, Craig Kornblau. Determining the perfect release timing for a movie — via on-demand, through iTunes or Amazon, in retail stores, or as a Netflix or Redbox rental — is a matter of working out “methods that are more profitable,” he said. The bottom line is that “we don’t have an obligation to give consumers what they want when they want it.””

At least they aren’t even trying to hide it anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Isn't this illegal?

I thought it was supposed to be illegal to pay someone to not sell a product? Or pay not to rent it out, in this case? Maybe it’s just in some states, but I thought it was a federal law. Something about agreeing to restrain trade. Did the tea party already get rid of that? I sounds like they made a deal to keep cheaper copies off the market, so now if you want cheap in the first 28 days, it has to be pirate or pay more.

lens42 (profile) says:

My advice to Netflix is to do whatever it takes to increase the catalog. The delays are irrelevant. All that matters is the catalog. The only date that registers in peoples’ heads is the original screen release, DVD dates are lost in the noise. People may chomp at the bit to a see a new movie in the theater, but who’s in that much of a hurry to watch a DVD?

Jaszmin (profile) says:

The failure of the DVD as a cash cow for the studios is having an effect on the movies themselves. The Studios are scaling back. No simple drama will be budgeted above $40 million from any studio from now on. The Studios are now producing even worse junk than before for teens and post teens, and better stuff than for a long time, for grown ups thirty and older. The failure of the DVD model is responsible for this improvement. But the 28 day delay just cuts DVD sales and rentals further. When the price got too high to RENT DVDs, after I’d been paying just $1.50 up until December, 2008, I just quit renting from stores and switched to Red Box, while focussing on classic film rentals from Netflix, to copy. I’m still sailing along that way two years later. I go to at least 60 theater movies a year, see everything I want to as I always have, but stopped watching marginal DVD material I had been watching, when the stores either closed or wouldn’t give on the rental price. I believe this is some variation on what every DVD consumer is doing now. H’wood is spiking itself in the nose. Rolling out films from the Cloud won’t work either. Someone will figure out how to steal even those films. I watch the occasional bit torrent film. My friends have such horrible taste I rarely watch what they download. But I’m fine. I’m still building a DVD film library at roughly 30 to 40 cents per dvd from netflix and $1 from Redbox. My collection is richer since I stopped copying new ones which had become primarily dreck since 2000. There weren’t generally good enough NEW DVDs to make copies of anyway. My switch to classics came as a result of the outrageous charges for the dreck. The Industry cannot win now that the digital genie has been released from the bottle.

ASTROBOI says:

Warners has always been nuts.

For some reason Warner Bros has exceeded the other studios is foolishness where home video is concerned.The company that brought us out of the silent era seems determined to destroy home viewing, with disastrous results…to themselves. Back in the seventies they were so outraged that people were renting VHS tapes that they themselves had produced that they started a program requiring each and every renter to sign a contract which was a miniature version of the theater movie contract. It was three pages long and the renter had to fill in all sorts of needless personal info. Most video stores then were individually owned, Blockbuster was just getting started. Faced with a load of needless paperwork and customer anger, they just stopped renting Warner movies. A few months later the program was quietly canceled. Disney tried a similar thing. They sold “rental only” tapes for a much higher price than the “not for rental” tapes which were not available to rental outlets. Of course the rental stores just drove over to the guy selling the cheap tapes and paid retail for them.
That program ended also after a few months. But they keep trying. Any bets when some smart suit will come up with the idea of shortening the window as a way to increase profits?

taoareyou (profile) says:

Casting My vote

Netflix, go with expanding the catalog. They can double the delays. Any movie I couldn’t wait to see, I already saw it in the theater. I LOVE your collection of streaming movies and would gladly trade new release delays for even more streaming content.

I don’t buy DVDs, and delays for new releases won’t change that. All it does is prevent WB from getting any revenue from Netflix for streaming those movies while the DVDs collect dust on store shelves.

mikej says:

Yawn...

I’ll just continue to rent my movies from the local library anyway. My tax dollars have already paid for them. Heck, my fellow citizens have been gracious enough to support my habit and this has made a huge collection available. No need to buy them since I only watch ’em once or twice anyway. I figure I am saving hundreds of dollars a year this way. To this I say thank you. Carry on…

Robert Scott Lawrence (user link) says:

Why Am I Not Surprised?

Another ploy by the studios to figure out how to separate the fan from his hard-earned dollar? Shocking. If they would simply grow some sense and realize that the vast majority of people would much rather boot up Netflix and watch current releases on the ginormous flat screen HDTVs that industry priced so low the average Joe can now afford 50″ of high def bliss, then they might be able to move into some kind of symbiotic relationship with the public. Until then, it’s parasitism as usual. Oh, wait, I mean “smart marketing.”

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