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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: competition, downloads, movies, release windows
Companies: apple, netflix


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    Tod C, 11 Dec 2008 @ 4:40am

    I think there is more to it

    Sounds like there's other stuff going on too. Too many of these supposedly "windowed" movies have been on DVD for years and TV (in some cases) for decades. Here is 27 out of my 113 movies -- not counting the 10+ that were scheduled to go off line earlier in December. Looks more like the networks are just messing with Netflix.

    Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man Dec 16, 2008
    Flash Gordon Dec 23, 2008
    Mad Max Dec 23, 2008
    The Land That Time Forgot Dec 29, 2008
    At the Earth's Core Dec 31, 2008
    The Vikings Dec 31, 2008
    Panic in Year Zero / The Last Man on Earth Dec 31, 2008

    all below Jan 01, 2009

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
    Cabaret
    Sphere
    March of the Penguins
    2010: The Year We Make Contact
    Camelot
    Rebel Without a Cause: Special Edition
    Holiday
    Bringing Up Baby
    Escape from New York
    Bullitt
    Kelly's Heroes
    Shall We Dance
    It Happened One Night
    Casablanca
    Only You
    Support Your Local Sheriff
    The Cheap Detective
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.