Streaming Rights On Whitney Houston Movie NOT Pulled In Order To 'Make Really A Large Amount Of Money On DVD Sales' [Updated]
from the profiting-off-of-death dept
Update: Netflix denies this story,
though the reporter stands by it. See update at the end. We covered how Sony Music UK jacked up prices on Whitney Houston’s music minutes after her death — then changing them back and apologizing. However, in an even more extreme case, it appears that whoever holds the copyrights on the Whitney Houston movie, The Bodyguard has pulled those rights from Netflix, where it had been streamable (found via Karl Bode, but kudos to Dan McDermott who noticed the problem and found out the details from Netflix). The reasoning is that they figure lots of people will want to buy it now, and this is a chance to cash in on her death:
Netflix rep: “Okay Dan, I just went and talked to my main supervisor as to why the movie had been pulled and the reason it was pulled was the production company pulled the streaming rights from us because all the publicity after Whitney Houston’s passing there was an opportunity to make really a very large amount of money on the DVD sales of her movies. So they’re going to pull all the streaming titles we have of Whitney Houston so they can make more money off the DVD sales of her movies.”
Now, watch the copyright holder complain that there’s too much infringement of the movie as well…
Update: Apparently Netflix is denying the story though McDermott — a long time reporter stands by the story. Netflix claims that the streaming rights to the movie went away last year when a licensing deal ended (and it is true that Netflix has lost some streaming rights in the last few months, though I have no idea if this is one of them). However, McDermott insists that he got the story from Netflix directly. As he told Andrew Couts at Digital Trends:
“I publish three newspapers and first started in news when I was news director at WLVA in 1987. I was aware of the sensitive nature of the story and was cautious and responsible,” McDermott told us via email. “The quote I printed is accurate. I cannot speak to whether the Netflix representative was telling me the truth but I asked him to verify what the Netflix users were saying (that it was pulled after her death) and the guy came back and said what he said. I tripled checked to get the quote accurate.
“He said that he had checked with two supervisors and that the ‘main’ one told him why it had been pulled.
“Personally I believe that the kid told me what his supervisors said. I can’t imagine that they were pulled after her death in some bizarre coincidence.
“Also, it is important to note that Netflix is not the bad guy in this. Unless they lie now.”
I guess it’s possible that Netflix is right, and there was confusion on the part of the supervisors…
Update 2: Indeed, it looks like my guess was correct. Netflix was right, and the supervisors of the customer service guy were wrong. Dan McDermott has admitted that the report the guy gave him appears to be wrong. He reported it correctly, but Netflix staffers gave him incorrect info. The movie was pulled from streaming back in January…