by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
delays, hbo, movies, tv shows, windows

hbo, netflix, redbox, warner bros

WB, HBO Continue To Suck At Economics; New Policies Encourage Piracy

from the do-they-not-realize-this? dept

A bunch of folks have been submitting variations on two stories from last week that show -- yet again -- that the big legacy entertainment industry companies suck at economics. AdamR was the first to send over the news that Warner Bros. studio was increasing the "delay" period for rentals. If you don't recall, WB has been at the forefront of this braindead idea that, if it forbids Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster from renting videos, maybe more people will buy the DVDs they release for sale. Of course, other studios took the time to study the matter and found that such a delay in rentals doesn't increase sales. Meanwhile, a separate study showed that such windows do increase infringement, as those who are perfectly willing to pay the price to rent, find the price to buy ridiculous... and seek alternatives.

It appears that WB is implicitly admitting that the strategy of delaying the rental period of a movie by 28 days has been a total failure, in the decision to increase the delay to 56 days. They're basically admitting that not enough people were "buying" in those 28 days... so they somehow think that doubling the wait will increase the purchases. It won't. If people really want to pay the extra money to buy the DVD, they're likely to do so pretty early on. It's not like they're waiting 50 days in and then saying "gee, I can't rent the movie, so I'll just pay a lot more money than necessary to own an obsolete piece of plastic."

Meanwhile, HBO, coming out of the same corporate lineage as WB, has decided to stop selling Netflix the DVDs of its shows. Netflix, of course, notes that it can get these DVDs from other sources, but it makes you wonder what HBO thinks it's accomplishing here. Pissing off its fans on Netflix by trying to force them into HBO's own annoying walled garden doesn't help build fans. And if it does actually lead to Netflix not offering HBO shows, then as plenty of commentators quickly noted, all they're really doing is encouraging more infringement.

This is basic stuff at this point. Not offering your content in simple, legitimate formats that the customers want doesn't help you at all. It just drives people to infringe. How does that help in any way, shape or form?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2012 @ 8:04am


    I think you're right on the money. I doubt it's about selling discs at all. We all know the "premium" and On-demand video services offered by cable and satellite providers are well funded and typically over priced compared to rental rates.

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