DirecTV Pays Studios To Help Confuse Customers Further

from the restrictions-may-apply dept

The film studios have convinced Netflix to sign deals that expand the company's access to streaming film licenses -- in exchange for agreeing to delay new releases by 28 days. Studios, of course, think this will somehow magically ramp up user purchases of physical DVDs, though it seems the primary result is going to be a lot of confused consumers, who see new releases for rent in one place, but not in another. But the studios are likely quite pleased with themselves, given the deal gives them more license negotiation power -- and allows them to charge companies more money if they want a perceived leg up on Netflix. If nobody is willing to pay, the studios figure they've still managed to create a wider delay window (the exact opposite of what should be happening in the broadband age).

But Blockbuster quickly jumped at the opportunity, throwing money at the studios, not only to avoid the new release delay, but so they could use the opportunity to mock Netflix instead of having to innovate. DirecTV has also now decided to play along, and will be paying for the honor of offering new releases under the "DirecTV Cinema" brand. Like Blockbuster, it didn't take DirecTV long to brag that unlike Netflix or Redbox, they'll be getting Avatar the same day it hits store shelves:

"As many as 400 new movies will be available this summer through DirecTV Cinema. Titles from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. will be given to DirecTV subscribers 28 days before they can be rented on Netflix, said Paul Guyardo, DirecTV's chief sales and marketing officer"
Granted this might not hurt Netflix much, given the fact that DirecTV agreements with the studios ban them from offering subscription service, so if users want these new releases -- they have to pay between $4.99 and $5.99 per title -- nearly the cost of a Netflix subscription. You also had better hurry up and watch your movie, given that under a 2008 DirecTV agreement with the studios, movies you store on your DVR will be automatically deleted after 24 hours. While the studios think layering restriction upon restriction onto how, where and when customers can consume their product is helping them save the traditional DVD -- all they're really doing is delaying the inevitable death of physical media, annoying and confusing customers, and making it harder for people to consume their product.

Filed Under: movies, release windows
Companies: directv, netflix

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  1. icon
    Jupiter (profile), 21 Apr 2010 @ 2:04pm

    I'm just now getting Netflix movies that I put in my queue a year and a half ago. What the hell do I care about another 28 days?

    Hollywood sure has people hyped up to see their latest turkey, while Netflix is giving me access to 100 years of stunning filmmaking from all over the world. I could go out and see a movie, but I know I've got a better movie waiting in my mailbox. If I'm going to bother to leave the house, I'd rather go to the theatre and see a play with real people.

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