Warner Bros. Just Keeps Pushing People To Piracy; New Deal Also Delays Queuing

from the are-they-that-clueless? dept

Sometimes you really have to wonder about some legacy entertainment industry execs and their thought process. Warner Bros. is the most aggressively stupid when it comes to willfully going against what consumers want and pushing them to pirate instead. It, among the big Hollywood studios has been the leader in trying to hold back rentals in the bizarre belief that if people can’t rent a video legally, they’re suddenly more likely to pony up many times the amount to buy the full DVD. This is what we call denial. And economically clueless. The latest detail, which came out last week, is that one of WB’s new conditions with its deal with Netflix isn’t just that the rentals are delayed by 56 days (up from the previous 28), but that they won’t even be able to put the delayed movie in their “wanted” queue until 28 days before it’s actually available.

Under the companies’ previous agreement, users could add discs to their queues even before they went on sale. Warner executives apparently believed that policy made it easier for consumers to wait, confident that the discs would arrive eventually.

But now when users search for Warner’s “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas,” which goes on sale Feb. 7, the Netflix website simply says the movie is not available. Consumers will have wait until March 6 to add the film to their queues and until April 3 to get it in the mail.

What’s amazing about this policy is that it seems to provide the exact opposite incentives of what WB should want. At least, when they could put it in their queue as a sort of “pre-release” commitment, they knew they’d be getting it soon, and would have less incentive to go out and get it through unauthorized means. But, now, they won’t even have that, making it even more likely they seek the movie out via unauthorized means. WB is in complete denial if it thinks this is suddenly going to make people more interested in buying the physical DVDs.

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Companies: netflix, warner bros.

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Comments on “Warner Bros. Just Keeps Pushing People To Piracy; New Deal Also Delays Queuing”

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Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Re: What movie was that?

Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying it first. WB OBVIOUSLY has no clue how much content is out there. You have to have something that is in-FUCKING-credible if you expect the average consumer to be excited enough to remember to wait for the in queue date.

Let’s see….. I’m on Netflix and probably wasn’t excited enough to see the movie in the theaters which is why I searched for it on Netflix. Hmmmm not available. Next move…. search for something else that I want to watch. Chances of going back on the in queue date? Completely random. Increasing sales or value? Not at all.

Loki says:

Re: Re: What movie was that?

Advocating boycotting content isn’t enough. People want content. In addition to the boycott, in becomes necessary to point some people (because they won’t search it out on their own) to decent alternatives. Also by increasing the visibility of those alternative, it increase the visibility/viability for those content creators who aren’t locked into Big Content (or as options when those deals expire).

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: theirs is not an open market

In several ways, i agree with you. I cannot rightfully support such a criminal franchise. I’m also petty and vengeful, but that’s another story.

The problem with a widely accepted boycott of big content is that it’s difficult for people to kick their consumption habits. They’re not all netizens, connected to a more open media market online. They’re also not all creators like you or i. There needs to be some real alternative that people would be willing to substitute for their entertainment time.

Let’s assume that we’re talking about a large population of creative individuals endowed with curiosity, broad tastes, and self control. Now we have millions of hypothetical users completely off the BC wagon; they’re reading, writing, creating, interacting and maybe even building the framework for a stronger independent content community. Now the false problem that existed before without measure or proof is now conspicuous and undeniable. All corrupt measures taken to combat the bogeymen of their economic failure will be based as always on fabricated research.

So really, i can’t see any real good coming out of a boycott other than the first two things. I can’t see BC dying or ever developing a grain of sense or respect for its customers. Even if all the studios went (actually) bankrupt, They’d just twist a deal out of the state. While i’m content never buying a damn thing from a major label or ever owning a television in the meantime, this industry needs to be extracted from the state and castrated before they can be actually threatened by an open market.

TheStupidOne says:


Don’t forget the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” By making their movies completely inaccessible to the people that want them, WB is increasing the excitement their fans have for the movies. By not allowing them to add movies to their queue, the fans will be anxiously checking Netflix daily to see when they can add the movie they wish to watch. Many of those fans will become so excited about the movie that their money will fly out of their wallets and into WB’s underground vault. At which point Scrooge McDuck will dive into the pool of cash while WB executives sip celebratory martinis and discuss which sequel to make a sequel of next.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Anticipation

Scrooge had a pool of cash. Daffy had an attitude. Donald had a sailor suit. Though if your point was Daffy is WB property you are right, but no reason Disney won’t invite them down to celebrate by their money pool.

Hey look I just made techdirt in violation of SOPA, shut er down boys….oh wait…not yet? OK *mr burns fingers*


Re: Mike your logical fallacy

No they don’t…

They are ignoring a large part of the market. They are ignoring that part of the market that has no interest in buying the DVD when it is first released. Attempting to punish that part of the market will not make people any more likely to buy the DVD.

In fact, this punitive measure makes it far more likely that the long tail part of the market will not bother at all.

They will have no opportunity to “sample” the product by legitimate means when marketing for the product is current. By the time they are able, they may simply forget about the product. Assuming they do manage to remember about the product and gain some interest in purchase, the product will likely already be subject to discounting at that time.

You are trying to push a false dichotomy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Mike your logical fallacy

Its funny how often I spend time trying to find a legal version of something. Find out there is none. Then spend literally 20 seconds pulling up a great illegal version.

Tell you what there is a window in which I am willing to pay for your content. If its not available in that window you are not getting my money. I may consume your content I may say fuck it but if its not available to me legally I won’t be consuming it legally. (you = no one in this thread)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I can’t answer that for others, but personally piracy is a non-lucrative business, every time I copy something I don’t make money on it.

Piracy is defined here as any unauthorized copy made of something, meaning since no artist will ever take my call or respond to my emails I pirate all the time, mostly using Tivo like accessories.

TwentyTwo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Just to nit-pick a little bit: piracy is lucrative. Since money is fungible, every time I don’t spend money on something that I pirate, it frees up money for something else.

I say this knowing that a download is not a lost sale, but if there’s ever a time where you would have bought something but pirated instead, that is a lucrative act.

Piracy is a nice thing for the end user, and content creators need to recognize that they’re competing with that. They need to focus on making money, not stopping piracy, even when it is a lucrative act.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If I like the product and I respect the creator they will get my money. But if I don’t get respect I don’t give respect. So youre right. Focus on making good content and respecting your audience and let them support you rather than trying to fight windmills. I think that is really their problem, its harder to make money on crap when people can preview or decide the value before they pay and lets face it, these industries are held up by massive piles of crap.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Since money is fungible, every time I don’t spend money on something that I pirate, it frees up money for something else.”

Most of us have a limited amount of disposable income, and sometimes we can’t justify spending that money on entertainment because (and this may be news to some in the biz) it’s a relatively low priority compared to other expenses. If someone pirates something, chances are they were never going to pay, so no money has been freed up or spent elsewhere.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

So since you can’t afford something, you think you’re magically entitled to just illegally obtain it for free?

So, since you aren’t going to legally provide your product to me during a reasonable time period and using a well known and trusted distribution mechanism that you are entitled to my money? I’m sorry.

A number of years ago, I bought movies on the fly when they sounded cool or there was a lot of buzz around them. Then I bought Three Kings, which in my humble opinion, sucked. And then I bought several more DVDs that sucked even more. I then decided I’d never buy DVDs ever again without first renting them, deciding that I liked them and would watch them again, and then bought them. Your paymasters have decided that they are now going to penalize me more for being a prudent customer and not buying every movie they make without first watching them to see if I really want to spend the 18-24 dollars to add them to my collection. While I have not been driven to piracy — I will say that I have no intention of ever buying another WB movie, ever!

kfreed says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

No, most people don’t think along those lines, yet it is a fact of life. Abusing the rest of us who don’t do such things isn’t going to help the profit margin in the long run and is a sure way to ruin business – mostly because they just don’t seem to know where to stop.

As far as I can tell, the corporate monopolies aren’t suffering – record profits as it is.

MRK says:

As a Netflix subscriber don’t know what movies are released in stores, I stopped shopping for DVDs in stores years ago. As far as I am concerned until it shows up on Netflix, the DVD does not exist.

I would be more impacted if the Horse and Buggy makers announced they not be renting out the 2012 model carriages until 6 months after they are available at dealers.

Anonymous Coward says:

You have to think about it to understand what it really does.

If people really, really want the movie now, they can buy a copy at $15, rather than the pennies that the studio would see from a Netflix rental. If someone is only marginally interested, waiting 30 days or whatever really doesn’t change much. If anything, opening the queue up early would get people committed to waiting, rather than considering the purchase.

Put another way – if you can convert a single nextflix user into buying a copy, it beats the heck out of 10 people putting it in their queue, bottom line.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Put another way – if you can convert a single nextflix user into buying a copy, it beats the heck out of 10 people putting it in their queue, bottom line.

More brilliant business thinking… MPAA is screaming bloody murder over piracy and you justify their further stupidity with “convert a single [buyer]” logic.


Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I understand the logic you are using here with them looking at the lost sales through the lens of a cost/benefit analysis, but I don’t think it works that way in practice and it certainly isn’t going to create any goodwill towards the studio. The pennies they are sacrificing for that mythical physical purchase may in fact balance out and possibly even turn a minor profit for WB, but the number of people that they are pissing off is only going to translate from a possible short term gain to very real long term losses. Without seeing some sales data, there’s no way to verify one way or another, but I would think the loss of goodwill could easily outweigh any minor short term profits.

PRMan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

This. I grew up loving superhero stuff (still do) but the latest Green Lantern movie took 2-3 minutes to update on BluRay before it even started to play. To play unskippable trailers for 5 minutes, that is.

Between that and Batman: Arkham City, which didn’t work without 30 minutes of forum reading, accused me of using an unauthorized copy of the DVD (the real one was in there), made me make an Xbox Live account (even though I don’t have an Xbox) to even save the game.

I have spent a lot of time waiting on their nonsense and I am REALLY starting to hate all things WB with a passion.

Which means that in the future, I won’t even bother with the GL movie (I heard before that it was lame and it isn’t great). Arkham City is really great (and everyone is raving about it), but at what point do you not play a game when it takes over an hour of your time before you can even play it?

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Agreed. As for the Green Lantern movie, I haven’t seen it, but everyone I know who has told me not to waste my time. The two animated GL movies are worth a watch though: First Flight and Emerald Nights.

I had a similar experience with Street Fighter 4 to that which you had with Arkham City. Bought it on Steam under a 75% off sale and it wanted me to setup some Microsoft Live account (also don’t have a 360). For 5 bucks I chalked it up as a lesson and deleted it. 60 bucks for Arkham City and I’d have been pissed. When a downloadable cracked version is easier to play than the legitimate purchased version there is a serious problem. What have I learned from all this? Capcom will never get another dime of my money, and although I’ve been looking forward to Arkham City once it comes down in price, it just got crossed off my wishlist. Great job there, Big Content (thanks bob)… you just shot yourself in the foot again!

Hothmonster says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not to mention the problem with the encryption that GFWL ties to your saves fucking up and deleting all your progress. I lost my arkham city saves and looked on the forums, its a common problem with all GFWL games. Here is the best part there is no support for GFWL, they tell you to go to the publisher. The publisher says sorry its GFWL fault not ours and we can’t fix it because we don’t know the encryption protocols. So you go back to windows and talk to someone and they say we only handle xbox live support try this website. So you go to that website and it says if you have problems with your game contact the publisher. Lost 30 hours of playtime then 6 hours of my life and I didn’t even get to yell at anyone who was vaguely connected to GFWL. It took me another hour and a half of writing angry letters before I felt good about myself. Now Batman stares at me from my games list challenging me to try to beat it again before GFWL decides my saves are corrupt.

Seriously wtf is with encryption on single player game saves? Do they think I am going to cheat to get achievements? First of all I didn’t even want their service let alone care about their achievements. Second, is protecting their achievements, which are worth nothing, more important than making sure customers don’t get fucked?

grr argh

Blatant Coward (profile) says:

Re: Thinking about it

“If people really, really want the movie now, they can buy a copy at $15, rather than the pennies that the studio would see from a Netflix rental.”

They can still buy a copy at $15 if Netflix is able to rent them or stream them out. The pennies of many many people who know they would not watch the movie enough times to make any DVD purchase appealing, such as myself, are being thrown away by the studio. Pennies that still add up to dollars.

What the studios are really doing is saying as soon as Netflix have it, the pirates do too and we make no more money from it. Which is just silly, when I’ve such movies they’ve had notes on the films like FOR ACADEMY VIEWING ONLY on them before they’ve even been in theaters.

Let Netflix pay the bandwidth, and do the bookkeeping, let me rent the movie online, otherwise the studio gets 100% of nothing, as I have better things to do than check a queue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

you were correct tho. I was still buying plastic disks when I had netflix by mail.

I havent purchased a single dvd since I transitioned to netflix streaming.

I have enough fresh content within my grasp now. I don’t need “specific” content.

and I definitely dont need anymore drink coasters. (especially not 40$ ones)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well that would be swell if the numbers didn’t show the contrary, you raise the prices people don’t pay $15 to go to the theater or buy a DVD they stop consuming it all together that is what the market has shown, with increase numbers of people letting it go specially with a large group of that people not being able to afford the prices practiced today, eventually those will have to go down if the idiots want to sell anything and artificial inflated prices that are nowhere near the real value of that product, that by the way is pennies not dollars.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If people really, really want the movie now,

Your definition of “now” is considerably different than mine.

I went and saw a movie in a theater a few hours ago. If I want a copy of that movie now, I cannot get it legally – only illegally. It would be technologically easy for the studio to release a digital download of that movie at the same time it is in theaters.

What about a DVD just released that isn’t on Netflix. It’s midnight here, so very few stores that sell new release DVDs are open. Well, again, I could choose to get it now, illegally (but convenient) without leaving my computer chair, and have it in a few minutes. I could order it from Amazon and have it in a few days (which is not “now”). Or I could wait 10 hours til some shop opens, which again is not the definition of “now”.

One way the studio would get money, the other ways they get zero. Why does the studio choose to get nothing instead of something? And why aren’t their shareholders up in arms over the horrendously bad business decisions being made?

It’s 2012. Data travels around the world in a second. If you’re waiting 2 months and expecting your data to still be valuable, you might as well be writing on clay tablets and baking them in the noonday sun.

kfreed (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Has it dawned on you or the corporate brain trust that the reason people use Netflix or the Red Box or rent movies from Block Buster instead of buying them is because the corporate brain trust over in the financial sector just bankrupted half the country and consumers no longer have the purchasing power they did before?

Shorter version: people ain’t got money to buy DVD’s when millions don’t even have money to feed themselves.

Zos (profile) says:

Disks? lmao. this is why, the sooner that netflix cuts away the cancer that is DVD’s the better. Every dollar wasted on obsolete media would be better invested in streaming content.

The only media I pay for anymore is Netflix. I know for certain i’d pay twice as much, if i could get the content i wanted, AT LEAST, because that’s how much i pay for my btguard membership, another 7.99.

On the bright side, thanks to all those panicking idiots last year i was able to buy my very first stock when netflix was down to 60 bucks a share. I think i’m up about 25% already.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Is WB actualy that stupid?

They remove all options other then buying the DVD, pirating, or going without. Let’s compare the three.

Going without is free and effortless, but you don’t get to see the movie and you get counted as one of the pirates (and accused of censoring the movie industry by local trolls).

Buying the DVD gets you the movie and a few other extras, but it costs $20-$30, you get unskipable piracy warnings and trailers, and you’re supporting the people actively trying to screw you

Pirating is free, you get to see the movie, you don’t have to worry about the warnings and trailers, and you get to screw the people trying to screw you, but it’s illegal.

Hmmm, looking at the pros and cons, piracy looks pretty appealing. This is what people think when you take every single other option away from them. This is not what we were talking about when we said you should make it easier for your customers.

Al Bert (profile) says:

Re: I like to think they are, yes.

Abstinence? Boycott? Pirate? Purchase?
Doesn’t matter what you do, you’re a pirate in the eyes of the media. If you didn’t buy it, you’re a lost sale due to piracy. If you did buy it, your shiny plastic disk has a nice message threatening you with jail time because you’re obviously a pirate.

I almost wish i gave a shit about movies so i could have reason to download some.

kfreed (profile) says:

Re: Re: I like to think they are, yes.

(Crap… I accidentally hit the report button thanks to the cat… didn’t mean to… am so sorry)

I wanted to voice agreement, actually. I’ve never so much as downloaded a song from the Internet (except Makana’s Occupy song offered for free), and I think that anyone who pays attention to how giant corporations operate these days that SOPA and PIPA and all of their other anti-consumer tactics are aimed at mopolizing in totality.

This isn’t free enterprise and it isn’t a free market. In fact, too many corporations/industries are turning themselves into crime sydicates, paying off politicians to allow them to abuse the populace mercilessly and it has gotten completely out of control.

Anyone who supports monopoly is either in the service of such a corporation, profiting from it or a complete moron.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

What's amazing about this policy is that it seems to provide the exact opposite incentives of what WB should want

No no, it is exactly what they want. They need the pie-rate boogeyman to justify… well all the crap they spew about losses. Just like Terrorism, and Communism before that. Boo!!!!
Someone posted this a couple days back and I didnt see any comments about it. Any thoughts…

Tom The Toe says:

No more Netflix

Since I cant find anything worth watching anymore I guess I’ll just drop Netflix along with my Blockbuster Movie Pass. Now I don’t have a blockbuster Store open within 20 miles of my house and Netflix can’t negotiate a deal with with the MAFIA. While in the hell would I pay $20-$30 for a movie I’ll only watch once?

Lesath (profile) says:

First rule of business is ‘Don’t make it hard for people to give you money.’ This move is utterly insane on Warner Brothers part. I don’t understand why the big 4-5 or how ever many there are, don’t get together and offer a streaming service themselves. That way they could cut Netflix out of the picture and maybe people would actually get what they want.

Anonymous Coward says:

From conversations with friends over the years, I am pretty sure I am the prototypical Netflix user:

1. I almost never, ever, shop for DVDs anymore. The thing I really care about is something like a Special Edition Box sets (ie, Harry Potter, Stargate, etc). ie, something that gives me, *A FAN*, something I really, really want to own.

2. I never really pay attention to when a movie is due to be released on DVD. My “watch list” is so large on Netflix, I watch what is sent to me and every few weeks I go online and browse the new releases and add them to my quene. If it’s something I realized I missed and really, really want to see, I just add it to the top and I get it in a few days.

3*. I pay MORE attention to NEW Movie releases because it keeps me informed to what it coming out.

In fact, #3 is interesting. Since I dropped cable TV a few years ago and live off Netflix, ESPN3, etc, I noticed that I go to the movies more, most likely because I am actively paying attention to what’s coming out soon. (ie, BRAND NEW content I want to see!)

I know many, many people — including my technically absent minded parents and a few aunts and uncles — who are at least doing the first two items above. None buy DVDs anymore, except for small children.

The fact is, WB either doesn’t have a clue how people really consume their product or they know precisely what people are doing and refuse to adapt and thing throwing up more gates will turn around sagging DVD sales.

Anonymous Coward says:

Netflix was great before all the studio imposed release window delays, now not so much.
I now just go out and find what I want to watch on the net and I have a cool video player that allows me to watch on my HDTV.
Going to the movies has not been fun for years, now using Netflix is no longer fun either.
Sometimes I will still go out and get a Redbox movie, but even that is getting old.

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re:

“Lack of availability doesn’t make people pirate, being a low-down dirty theiving cheapskate jackhole does.”

Well, that too of course, but I don’t see the companies changing that aspect anytime soon, so I think availability is their best bet at this point.

Once they have a good selection, with near-release availability in all the popular formats (the ones that are actually used), then they can start repairing their bad PR image.

But availability comes first if they want to increase sales.

Leonidas says:

Faulty "Logic"?

While it may not make good business sense, or even provide excellent customer service, it does do one thing. It lets Warner Bros. feel better about treating their customers like they are criminals, because they are being forced into it due to a service delivery failure.

On the surface everyone (but WB) can see the folly of this decision and how their customer base will react to it. Worse we can all see the consequences of their actions and how it only runs counter to what they claim they want (to stop piracy).

I’m sure that WB will just come out foaming at the mouth over how they are victims of IP theft and completely gloss over the fact that it was their own fault. They’ll use this to claim piracy is on the rise and the problem is only getting worse (as evidenced by all the people pirating the new film rather than buy it, since they can’t rent it for 56 days at least) so they really need legislation to put a stop to it.

To this I say “My beating heart bleeds purple piss for you”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Faulty "Logic"?

So, the obvious solution will be stricter enforcement of laws and increasing the release window to 2x the current number of days.
That’ll kill piracy dead

Then the obvious solution will be new laws, even more strictly enforced and outlawing rental except when rental charges are higher than purchase price.
That will definitely work.

Then you just repeat both steps over and over.

It’s obviously going to work sometime.

John Doe says:

This would cause me to miss movies

When I see a trailer for a movie I want to see, I add it to my Netflix queue. If I don’t go see it at the theater, I know that it will show up in my queue one day. But if I can’t add it when I first hear about it, it is quite possible I will never see it. I guess if they don’t want me to see their movies I should take a hint?

charlie potatoes (profile) says:


Once again I rail against the wind. The latest Internet protest, an act that supposedly torpedoed a bad law about to be enacted, shows, if there was ever any doubt, just how powerful a force it can be. My proposal is that citizens forgo new movies just released, and new music, just released for one short month. This isn’t oxygen or food that we are discussing. Surely we can all live on the existing movies and songs until we have brought down the evil doers. I think a month of “no sales” would get their attention. Hell, they might cave in after a week. They certainly don’t want us to learn that we can live just fine without them for the common good. To hell with them. Why beg them to behave ethically, when you can demand that they do so? Use the force, Luke.

Michael Ho (profile) says:

There's also the Netflix API...

The other alternative is that 3rd party developers can use the Netflix API to create an app that will maintain your queue “outside of Netflix” and then just add movies to your Netflix queue whenever the app is allowed to — so that humans don’t have to worry about these limiting restrictions and just have apps that keep track of these things…..

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: There's also the Netflix API...

until they to are sued under some deranged twisted version of copyright that exists in WB’s head. They won’t win in the end but in the mean time they will drive the developer out of business, force NetFlix to end the API, and generally push a little harder for average people to figure out what a torrent is.

Digital Consumer (profile) says:

Digital hassle

I do not pirate anything.

Digital Roadblocks this week:

I wanted to watch star wars episodes I-VI to show my wife the movies for the first time. I looked online to here I could obtain a legal digital copy or rental. I could not find it, so now I have canceled my Swtor subscription and I say fuck Lucas, I simply will not support his franchise any longer no matter how much I love it. (cost them around 100.00 in digital movie sales; and 15/month for game subs for the next yar to three years at least)

My wife developed a hankering for a Harry Potter marathon the last couple of days, and we rented all the movies up to Deathly Hollow pt 1, which can not be rented or bought digitally, but pt 2 can be. Really. Not another fucking penny to the Harry Potter franchise.(cost them two 4 dollar rentals, or a 15 dollar movie sale with a 4 dollar rental as I would have bought it to avoid dealing with a dvd).

I can’t buy amazon movies and play them legally on my droid x, so during long car rides, I cant let my 4 year old watch movies. This has cost amazon an initial 60 dollars in movie sales, not to mention the 1 I would have bought very couple weeks.

Instead, I bought myself a new graphics card and router. Guess the movie industry just lost some money.

Anonymous Coward says:

WB is in complete denial if it thinks this is suddenly going to make people more interested in buying the physical DVDs.

Those days are mostly gone, anyways. The industry just can’t wrap their heads around it yet. Yes, there will always be those who want physical copies of books, music, or movies, but those people will continue to decrease over time. I, for example, used to enjoy proudly displaying my collections. But that was when I was younger (and also had more permanent residences). Having a more transient lifestyle these days (11 moves in 8 years) and as my collections have grown, moving around 1,500 albums, 1,000 books, and 500 movies gets to be a major hassle. Sure there are certain things I want to keep on display, but much easier to just keep most of it in digital form on several external hard drives.

A lot of younger people, especially, feel the same way. Who wants to be burdened with physical materials that take up a considerable amount of space (particularly a dozen or so large, heavy boxes if you have to move – an increasingly common occurrence in this day and age) when it can all fit in something you can slip into your back pocket?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Most of the people who collect physical media, barring super duper limited special edition versions, still are willing to wait until its under $10 to get. WB wants to remain blind to the idea that their costs have been going down while they keep the prices artificially high.
They keep some things from becoming digital so they hope they can extract more money from the consumers, forcing them to plastic discs. The horrible portion is when they start to release things and then decide they aren’t getting a big enough return on the plastic discs and abandon releases part way through. All the manage to do is piss off the consumer who would have paid them, and make sure they will never pick up another one of their releases like that until the whole series is available.

Anonymous Coward says:

This kind of marketing sort of worked in the 80’s. Back in the VHS days when the idea of even owning a movie, any movie was new and exciting. Or back pre-VCR. You got to see a movie when they were in the theatre or on TV (VHF or UHF only). They held movies back and really did generate a pent up demand, mainly because there were no alternatives. This is why hollywood hates and wants to destroy the internet. Thanks to it, people have alternatives. SOPA/PIPA wasn’t so much about piracy as destroying those alternatives.

Failboat says:

They're just doing this to get SOPA to pass.

The real strategy here is to get everyone to turn to TPB for their media needs and show that even though movie studios are going through efforts to increase sales numbers, (by delaying rentals) more people are turning to piracy. We’ll just ignore that they artificially inflated the need to seek out alternative methods of viewing content nobody would ever be foolish to buy.

John says:

Listen to the thieves ...

I suppose that when a bank a robbed, they are at fault for not giving away cash.

I suppose that when a car is stolen, the owners are at fault for not just giving away the keys.

I suppose that when a house is broken into, the owners are at fault too.

I suppose that when farmers and supper markets are stolen from, they are at fault for not giving their products away too.

Come on folks … work for a living, and pay your bills for the things that are forsale that you want.

Stealing is stealing … everybody has the right not to buy, what they do not want to pay for … nobody has the right to steal.

JMT says:

Re: Listen to the thieves ...

Lines 1-4: No, nobody here thinks any of those things.

Line 5: Pretty sure most people here do that. No evidence to the contrary.

Line 6: Correct on all points, but none of them have anything to do with this story. How about you comment on the topic instead? Try answering these questions honestly:

Do you think this extended delay will increase or decrease sales?
Do you think this extended delay will increase or decrease customer goodwill?
Do you think this extended delay will increase or decrease piracy?

(Hint: D, D, I)

Anonymous Coward says:

Where is the idiot here that keeps saying that movie tickets are selling less?

Guess what this is exactly why, people who can’t go to the theater because is to expensive now have more time to forget about it, meaning most of people will forget about spending money on that crap and just move on.

Increase the price more and see where all will end.

Apex bionic (user link) says:

This winter

Well that would be swell if the numbers didn’t show the contrary, you raise the prices people don’t pay $15 to go to the theater or buy a DVD they stop consuming it all together that is what the market has shown, with increase numbers of people letting it go specially with a large group of that people not being able to afford the prices practiced today, eventually those will have to go down if the idiots want to sell anything and artificial inflated prices that are nowhere near the real value of that product, that by the way is pennies not dollars.

Angry Voter says:


The big studios cheat on their taxes to hide their profits outside the US during time of war.

That’s Treason.

The big studios should be seized, the criminals that work there water-boarded until they admit it and then they should be kept locked up as a danger to democracy.

That’s what they advocate for other people.

btrussell (profile) says:

Re: Treason

“The big studios should be seized, the criminals that work there water-boarded until they admit it and then they should be kept locked up as a danger to democracy.”

Yes, but we can’t have them investigated.

“…the White House declines comment on this petition because it requests a specific law enforcement action.”

kfreed (profile) says:

Can Wait

Hmmm… I’m not sure that whis will work out so well even minus the piracy issue.

I haven’t used Netflix in a long time (tried it and hated it), but usually when I notice a movie (or book) that I want to see, if I have to wait too long for it to become available I usually forget about it, literally. Not that I don’t have patience, it just seems to escape my memory and that’s that. And I never buy a movie without first having rented it. Our DVD collection is composed entirely of movies that we rented once, liked especially much, and will watch over and over again.

But then I’m not the sort who has to see a movie the minute it’s out. I can wait.

PaulT (profile) says:


That doesn’t hold true for every film, and it definitely doesn’t hold true for films that are not successful Hollywood blockbusters.

Case in point: I’ve been waiting to watch Brad (Session 9/ The Machinist) Anderson’s Vanishing On 7th Street since I first heard of it. It was completed in 2010, and after being shown at a few festivals was dumped into a tiny release and straight on to VOD in the US in February 2011, with a DVD/Blu release a couple of months later. The UK DVD release is set for 20th Feburary 2012 – *over a year* after its US release.

Yet again, one market is screwed (region coding prohibits merely importing the US version when it’s available), and the industry refuses to service fans in the hopes of a greater return. I’ll bet the pirates would have had no problem letting me watch that movie if I’d have asked, but the studio would have whined about “lost sales”.

billy boy says:

I don’t use Netflix or any streaming service because they are not available to me.

I never buy DVD’s as I only ever watch a movie once.

I have no way of renting a movie.

I have access to a multitude of ways to Pirate them.

If the studios made them available to me from the start at a sensible price they would get my money.

How can they not see that that is a scenario that is all over the planet and only a few countries have access to Netflix etc. Sort out your distribution and the amount of pirated copies would fall overnight.

Karl (profile) says:


So since you can’t afford something, you think you’re magically entitled to just illegally obtain it for free?

His point was that, with or without piracy, those without the necessary disposable income wouldn’t have paid for the content in any case.

So, it is not lucrative, for either those people nor for the content creators. It is not a lost sale, and those people would not be saving money (since there was nothing to “save”).

It has absolutely nothing to do with any sense of “entitlement.” It actually does not have anything to do with obtaining it for free, either.

Anonymous Coward says:


So since you can’t afford something, you think you’re magically entitled to just illegally obtain it for free?

Extending your line of thinking…

You will eventually come to the statement of something along the lines of “Then just don’t consume the content”. i.e. Don’t be a customer/freeloader/consumer.

So with that statement made, I ask a salient question:

How does him no longer getting your content help you in any way?

PaulT (profile) says:


That’s easy. These people live in a fantasy world where everybody has to pay for any content they consume directly, and where their content is so valuable nobody can live without it. Anyone who chooses to do something else with their time and money must be a pirate. Considerations such as consuming content for free legally, or freedom of choice to avoid bad products, never enter their minds.

In his mind, you either pay for his content, or you’;re a pirate. They know no middle ground.

Lesath (profile) says:

Here is an experiment I would love to see WB do. Have WB pick two movies coming out this year, The Dark Knight Rises and some other random release. Have the dvd ready to go outside the theater for sale but the only way you get it is to hand over you movie stub in exchange for being able to buy the dvd. The theaters don’t get burned and I bet WB sells a ridiculous amount of dvds over that opening weekend.

Lord Binky says:

They're trying their best to make resentful

I don’t know how they think their customer is so STUPID as to not see their effort “incintivize” purchasing the disc is by removing every possible alternative. My fiance wanted to rent the hangover 2 from a brick and morter store and it was the clerks admitted it was for sale but not rent as a test to see how much it spurred sales? Yeah, we didn’t rent it but we sure as hell weren’t going to buy it. We were afraid it was going to be as shitty as every review said, and we were right. Do they think I want to give them money when they slap me in the face by taking away my choices? I’d rather the company not exist and be replaced by anything that treated me better as a customer.

Lauriel (profile) says:

Listen to the thieves ...

Oh dear.-

I suppose that when a bank a robbed, they are at fault for not giving away cash.

When it became obvious to banks that their customers were no longer satisfied with 9-4 business hours, they embraced ATMs, EFTPOS, and online banking.

I suppose that when a car is stolen, the owners are at fault for not just giving away the keys.

Car dealers? Or individual owners? Because piracy does not equate stealing an individual’s DVD collection. As for car dealers, they have never tried to stifle the second hand market, nor have they tried to limit rentals. They have never attempted to legislate to outlaw taxis and public transport. They have also never attempted to hinder people riding bicycles or walking (the transport equivalent to ‘creating their own’).

I suppose that when a house is broken into, the owners are at fault too.

Seriously? Have you ever tried to make an insurance claim? Not to mention the poor sods who have been sued by burglers who have injured themselves. And let’s add to that the standard police response of “what do you expect us to do about it?” And that is completely ignoring the salient point: house ownership is a poor example. This is more like being in the rental market, and your real estate agent has told you that you can only be added to the waiting list two months after the house is empty and available for lease.

I suppose that when farmers and supper markets are stolen from, they are at fault for not giving their products away too.

And again – analogy fail. Neither farmers nor supermarkets have ever tried to make it more difficult to give them money in exchange for their products. I tried really hard to relate supermarkets and farmers to a second hand or rental market, but came up short. Maybe you’ve some ideas I haven’t thought of in this regard.

Come on folks … work for a living, and pay your bills for the things that are forsale that you want.

Yes, I work for a living. And I can buy DVDs if I want to. The key point of contention, however, is that many people (me included) do NOT want to buy a DVD. They want to watch once or twice.

The main objection to WB’s decision is that they then bemoan the lack of DVD sales, mistakenly (or obtusely) crying that piracy is the problem. Piracy is the visible symptom of the problem – people want more options. If WB provided more options, instead of less, there might be a more observable impact on piracy.

Banks found alternatives. Car dealerships thrive in a competitive market. Housing sales continue regardless of the construction and rental sub-industries. Only the entertainment industry is doing its utmost to erase all alternate avenues, while crying out how badly done by they are.

Stealing is stealing … everybody has the right not to buy, what they do not want to pay for … nobody has the right to steal.

Business is business. Everybody has the right to support a business or not. This is generally contingent on whether their needs (and wants) as a consumer are met. If the entertainment industry steps up an meets those needs, people will support them. If they treat their customers like thieves, limit their customers’ options, and riddle their products with defects (DRM), then no, people will not support them. The fact that their products are so easily replicated (not stolen) and shared is unfortunate for them, but it is NOT the core problem.

sheppo says:

service issue

these movie execs need to sit down and have a chat with Gabe Newell about piracy and customer service. they simply don’t get it and so many fundamental levels.

within this year they could have a solution in place to give people what they want, when they want it, for the right price and would see sales dramatically shoot up.

and whilst they’re at it, get rid of all localised distribution deals, it’s harming the industry. Why should someone outside the US have to wait longer for a home / dvd / online release? Global marketing is just as easy, and simplification of the market + worldwide release dates + parity in online and theatre release dates is drastic, but seriously, it’s what cosumers want, and they will happily pay hand over fist for it.

Grasnek says:


Most of the time it’s not too bad, but in some cases:
Yes they do!

I’ve been seeing trailers for “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas” (hey, a WB movie!) on youtube for months now, and it was out in cinemas in the US back in november.

Cinemas here haven’t spoken a word about it, and the IMDB page about this movie doesn’t even list the Netherlands as one of the countries this film will be shown at all:

Canada 4 November 2011
USA 4 November 2011
New Zealand 24 November 2011
Hong Kong 1 December 2011
Ireland 9 December 2011
UK 9 December 2011
Lebanon 12 January 2012

While this movie will be widely available on DVD/BluRay in maybe a month (or even now?) in the US, I still have no clue when to expect to be able to see it legally in my own country.

I wonder what’s going to happen next…

Alan says:

Warner Bros Idiots in suits

I have seen this stupidity often, and always found a way to circumnavigate. Which is a pity because often I am quite prepared to pay a reasonable price to get what I want.
Customer service is obviously a concept WB does not understand. Which is why I treat them with the same contempt that they show their customers.

Asher Lebeau says:

overseas release before U.S.

What is really wrong, is that domestic movies, and some t.v. shows are now being released in theaters before the U.S. Supposedly, it is more profitable for the large studios to release movies overseas before releasing them domestically. That is just so wrong! It would be hilarious to see the large studios on the t.v. show “American Greed.”

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