Studios Offering $30 Movie Rentals; Theater Owner Complains That He Can't Compete With That
from the yeah-that'll-work dept
A few weeks back, we noted the rumors that a bunch of studios were getting ready to offer $30 video-on-demand movie rentals, in an attempt to create a new tiered “window” much closer to the original theatrical release date. It appears those stories are now confirmed, as DirecTV has said that it will, indeed, be offering $30 film rentals for movies just 10-weeks after their theatrical release. Of course, before we discuss how bad an idea this is from the studio’s perspective, let’s look at the even more braindead response from movie theaters:
Regency Theatres, based in Calabasas, California, will pull “Just Go With It” from its second-run theaters, where it was among the top two titles last weekend, said President Lyndon Golin.
“We don’t want to show movies that are on TV,” Golin said in a telephone interview. “We want to protect the movie-going experience.”
Protect the movie-going experience? Huh? Does Golin even hear what he’s saying. First off, how does pulling the movie out of the theaters protect the movie-going experience? It seems to do the opposite. It seems to tell people “we don’t want you to enjoy the movie-going experience” with this movie. Golin seems to be flat-out admitting that his movie theaters suck. After all, if he can’t provide a better movie-going experience than a TV at home, then apparently his theaters really aren’t worth going to, right?
I’ve pointed this out in the past, but I can never understand theater owners who complain about competition from rentals or video streaming. The whole point of a movie theater is that it’s a social experience. It’s “going out” to the theaters. It’s enjoying the overall event on a giant screen. Obviously with home theater systems, there is some competition, but theater owners can certainly provide an overall excellent theater experience, if they put some effort into it. What Golin’s statement here says is that he’s not interested in trying, and he doesn’t think his theater’s experience can compete. That’s really more of a statement about problems with his own theaters than about this new rental window.
As for the rental window, it’ll be interesting to see who actually pays $30. I understand the studios’ logic. They think they’re providing extra value by making a movie available earlier. But that’s not — at all — how consumers are likely to view this. They’re going to compare it to Netflix or other PPV/rental options and have no idea why the studios and DirecTV think they can get away with charging many multiples higher.
Of course, going back to the theaters’ response, it seems even more ridiculous when you realize that Regency doesn’t even think it can compete with a ridiculously overprice home rental option that very few people are going to choose.