Hollywood Removing Hit Movies From Apple, Netflix

from the stupidity-knows-no-bounds dept

Some days you just wonder if entertainment execs wake up in the morning planning to shoot themselves in their collective foot. The latest display of entertainment exec short-sightedness is that the Hollywood Studios have apparently forced both the Apple iTunes store and Netflix's download store to remove certain movies just as they're getting close to being available for TV. As you probably already know, Hollywood makes a lot of money through a "windowing" system, where they release movies in different formats at different times: theaters, special locations (airplanes, hotels), DVD, cable and finally network TV. Of course, they're working on adding some more tiers to this as well, but apparently they convinced these online download stores that they need to kill certain movies as the timing reaches where the movies can appear on TV.

The studios' myopic reasoning is that TV broadcasters pay a lot of money for those rights, and they don't want to piss them off: "It wouldn't make any business sense to do it any other way," claiming that allowing the videos to be downloaded via these online stores would kill some of its biggest money makers. Of course, this makes no sense. The movies are already released on DVD and the studios don't prevent Blockbuster or Netflix from offering the physical DVD for rent, so why do that with the download version? If people really want to download these movies, they're more likely to just go get them from an unauthorized site, rather than bother to watch the network broadcast version (which, given recent MPAA statements, they'll probably try to prevent you from recording via your DVR anyway). If TV networks have been willing to pay good money for the broadcasting rights all these years while DVDs and unauthorized downloads have been available, are they really suddenly going to stop paying because legal downloads are available? Unlikely.

So what are we left with instead? A bunch of consumers really pissed off at the movie studios yet again. One of these days movie studio execs will discover that business models are much harder to implement when a large percentage of your customers hate you.
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Filed Under: competition, downloads, movies, release windows
Companies: apple, netflix


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  1. identicon
    interval, 10 Dec 2008 @ 2:06pm

    Re: screw it

    "I'll just go buy a 1 TB drive for $100, build my queue up on Netflix, then rip the movies to my hard drive and send them back."

    Use Redbox if its in your area. Much cheaper and more convenient than Netflix.

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