Warner Brothers And Redbox Sign New Deal: Rental Blackout Window Cut From Ridiculous 56 Days To Equally Ridiculous 28 Days

from the 'half-as-stupid'-isn't-the-same-as-'twice-as-smart' dept

Redbox has ended its "standoff" with Warner Brothers and, despite its earlier moves, has come out on the losing end of the deal. If you'll recall, earlier in the year Redbox decided to let its contract with Warner Brothers expire after the studio decided to withhold its new releases for 56 days -- up from the already ridiculous 28 days. Redbox looked at the obscene size of this window and said, thanks but no thanks, we'll just purchase your movies elsewhere.

This couldn't have made WB too happy, what with Redbox exercising the right of First Sale to bypass the studio's window and let itself in the front door. As for those looking to rent new releases while they were still new, Warner Brothers basically told them to shove off, and go look elsewhere for their entertainment. Having cut off a source of income and given more than a few potential customers a reason to check out alternate sources, the studio finally decided to renegotiate.

Here's how it all works out for Redbox (and by extension, the customers):
For titles with street dates between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2014, the studio will grant Redbox the rights to offer Warner Bros. theatrical titles on Blu-ray Disc and DVD 28 days after their retail release dates.
Apparently, a stupid window is slightly less stupid when it's half the size it previously was. (But more stupidly, it's exactly where the window sat previously, before Warner decided not enough people were buying during the rental shutout). What Warner refuses to understand is that people want to rent movies when they logically should be available (i.e., day and date with the DVD release), rather than at some arbitrary point in the future. Warner is still willing to trade rentals for sales, even if it means giving up some rentals for file sharing. But the stupidity of the deal gets worse:
In addition, Redbox announced plans to join the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) and has agreed to promote UltraViolet through a program of mutually agreed-upon promotions and marketing tactics designed to help retail customers discover UltraViolet.
On top of being forced to humor Warner's ignorant windowing, Redbox is now being made to play nice with the studio's too-little-too-late digital "offering." It's a bad deal all around, but the press release ignores all reality to paint a gloriously rose-tinted future for all involved.
The arrangement will improve the economics for both Warner Bros. and Redbox while ensuring consistent availability of Warner Bros. titles for the consumer.
Really? Judging from past experience, it seems more likely that Warner will continue to cripple the rental service by adding ridiculous agreements and stipulations while slowly killing off the everything anyone liked about it. There's nothing about this equation that "improves economics." Warner opens itself up to more piracy by setting up arbitrary windows and consumers looking for the latest Warner releases still have 28 days to kill before they become "consistently available."

Here's some more rah-rah, go team doublespeak from Warner Bros.
"We are pleased to once again have a direct relationship with Redbox, providing their consumers access to our movies," said Ron Sanders, president, Warner Home Video. "In addition, we look forward to working together on other key initiatives such as UltraViolet and creating promotional opportunities to offer consumers great content when and where they want it."
Translation: We are pleased that we have prevented Redbox from simply purchasing our movies from a third party and renting them out during our arbitrary blackout periods. In addition, we look forward to pushing our clunky digital services and creating restrictive "opportunities" to offer consumers great content when and where we say they can have it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Glen, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    In the movie 28 days later, the infected suffered from blinding rage. UltraViolet causes the same condition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    This is why I fear when we go digital this stuff will get more silly. At least currently they can just get around it by buying else where when we go digital there won't be an option for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    clockwork orange

    every time I hear about ultraviolet I want to go clockwork orange on the studios.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Travis, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    LOL

    Ahhh... such silly fools. Thanks for entertaining me studio giants. I will continue to ignore your self imposed restrictions and enjoy your movies on my own timetable, in my own format, as I please. While you go piss everyone else off that wants to support your dinosaur of a marketplace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:02pm

    Re: clockwork orange

    The movie wasn't that bad...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    Missed opportunity

    Redbox should have told Warner to take a hike. They missed an opportunity here. And it strikes me that agreeing to market Ultraviolet is an even bigger concession to the studio than agreeing to a delayed release. Now when I see any Redbox UV ads, it will just remind me of what a sellout Redbox is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Larry, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: clockwork orange

    And yet, you cannot get it at redbox or via UV...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:50pm

    UltraViolet is such an awful service I cannot believe that anyone is stupid enough to pay for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Keii (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:13pm

    So basically WB gave them a GREAT DEAL! by giving them the same old deal instead of the new crummy deal.

    WB wanted more money, tried to negotiate a bad deal, then got scared that they were losing money because of it and quickly tried to go back to the way it was...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    WOW! I did not even know Redbox was still around.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:36pm

    "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    Now, here, you (Tom), seem to be admitting that piracy costs sales -- besides the witless assertion that piracy is due to corporate decisions: "pirates gonna pirate" so WB must try to minimize that rather than pirates follow simple rules in the area of copyright.

    It's possible that your position differs from Pirate Mike's (and even that you both have consistent views, and that those differ from the scurvy swabby low-level pirates), but I conclude it's that all the writers here just slant arguments however needed.

    You need to sometime make a clear statement of position that you stand by or for. -- Or point to one already made. -- In absence of such, no one can possibly follow you as you wander around this angle and that. -- Take the time to sit down and write out exactly your positions and the justification for such. I think it'd be a big help to copyright if you did.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:03pm

    Redbox should die.
    Their supply is lame,
    their boxes are broken down most of the time,
    returning discs is a huge hassle,
    the discs are nasty with germs and viruses,
    and the corporation won't accept responsibility for
    the diseases they spread, and the costs they incur.
    You're a fool to bring these things into your home, especially if you have young children.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    TimothyAWiseman (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:33pm

    Re:

    designed to help retail customers discover UltraViolet.

    Yes, I discovered it a long time ago, and then wished that I hadn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Zos (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:48pm

    the south park guys said it best last Wednesday.

    just die, you zombie bastards. dvd is an obsolete media, blueray is DOA. ultraviolet is a POS, but your shit's still up on the bay, 3 days before release date, in a variety of formats.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    anon, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:53pm

    Re:

    Ultraviolet, just another DRM laden system that those in the know will refuse to use. Yes they will sucker in the masses but they will eventually realise how they have been suckered in and react accordingly.

    Ultraviolet would have been a great system 20 years ago, but the world has moved on since then. too little to late yet again by the studios.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 6:52pm

    Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    Who is Tom?

    "besides the witless assertion that piracy is due to corporate decisions: "pirates gonna pirate" so WB must try to minimize that rather than pirates follow simple rules in the area of copyright."

    That's why I bought the special edition of the Avengers instead of downloading it via bittorrent. Because anybody who violates copyright in any fashion is a filthy pirate, and once a pirate, always a pirate. It doesn't matter if all I've done is Xerox a page from a library book in 1969; everything I've done since then (and before then; why not make it retroactive?) is piracy, because "pirates gonna pirate" and there's nothing else to know.

    And Paramount still treats me like a criminal and, simultaneously, like a capitive audience; they abuse my attempt at honesty by shoving 20 minutes of advertisements and warning down my gullet every time I try to watch the movie. (Including an advertisement for the movie I'm trying to watch.)

    So I ripped the DVD and stripped out the bullcrap so that I could actually watch the movie I paid for.

    But of course, according to your accounting, that just makes me a filthy pirate and I've just stolen trillions of dollars from Paramount.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

    Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    You need to sometime make a clear statement of position that you stand by or for. -- Or point to one already made. -- In absence of such, no one can possibly follow you as you wander around this angle and that. -- Take the time to sit down and write out exactly your positions and the justification for such. I think it'd be a big help to copyright if you did.

    Really? You think that's what's holding it back? My POSITION STATEMENT? Copyright doesn't need my help. It's got the FBI, ICE and various parts of the DOJ backing it up. It's got lifetime + 70 years to collect rent. I don't think any perceived waffling on my part is keeping copyright from being all it can be.

    Now, here, you (Tom), seem to be admitting that piracy costs sales -- besides the witless assertion that piracy is due to corporate decisions: "pirates gonna pirate" so WB must try to minimize that rather than pirates follow simple rules in the area of copyright.

    Yes. I'm admitting (if that's the correct term -- I'll run it by Tom) that piracy costs sales. If you are not willing to make rentals available for those who aren't looking to purchase, then they can always find it elsewhere. Sure, it would be nice if everyone just played nice with all the madeup rules and stopped breaking arbitrary windows and regional restrictions and every other thing that no longer makes sense when the "competition" already has all the entertainment in the world queued up if you've got the time and the bandwidth.

    You want to lay this all on the consumers. DO THE RIGHT THING. WAIT 28 DAYS. BECAUSE.

    No one cares that WB thinks it can make more money shuffling the movie in and out of various PPV services. No one cares but Warner, but it's not as if it's buying its own product. Those other people are. The people who won't "respect" copyright. Well, that street runs both ways and copyright holders have long shown complete contempt for the desires of their potential customers. Sow and reap. If you keep removing legal options, what do you expect? "Go without?"

    Warner cut its window in half (from 56 days) because extending it had no discernible effect on DVD sales. And yet, it thinks 28 days will be the magic number. Why? And more importantly, in the eyes of the consumers, who gives a shit? You can't force people to buy. Realizing that, perhaps you should at least pick up some cash from rentals. Or, you know, do this sort of thing and let some of your market share choose to give you $0 for your efforts.

    I forget the point you were trying to make, OOTB, but Tom will be around later to clarify.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 7:59pm

    Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    "You need to sometime make a clear statement of position that you stand by or for. -- Or point to one already made. -- In absence of such, no one can possibly follow you as you wander around this angle and that. -- Take the time to sit down and write out exactly your positions and the justification for such. I think it'd be a big help to copyright if you did."

    What the fuck did you just type? You make no sense whatsoever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    SilverBlade, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:56pm

    The smart geeks get a usenet account with SSL and have any movie they want as it comes out. No wait period needed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:01pm

    Re:

    DVD and Blu-Ray are already digital?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Leander (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 2:33am

    "We are pleased to once again have a direct relationship with Redbox, providing their consumers access to our movies,"

    their consumers? One should think they're Warners consumers too. Given these words, I don't think Warner Truely supports this deal. Oh, and ultraviolet is a piece of crap not worthy of our attention.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 2:48am

    Re:

    @ #9

    what Warners actually did was give Redbox the old deal back with some extra bits tagged on (Ultraviolet) that should totally screw Redbox for good. once that happens, Warner can continue to screw themselves over so as to be more practiced and ready for the next idiotic company that comes along and asks to join them. in the mean time, customers will flock to the shops to buy the movies because they cant bear to wait for 28 days until the rental is available. also during this same 28 days, file sharing/downloading will never take place and i'll become a multimillionaire over night!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
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    techflaws (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 3:24am

    Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    Now, here, you (Tom), seem to be admitting that piracy costs sales

    No. He seems to be admitting that windowing cost sales. Who said people would buy after having waited x days,rather than simply go without in case infringing copies weren't available?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    The Real Michael, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 5:27am

    The only question is...

    Why bother giving WB/Redbox so much free advertising? Ignoring them is the surest way to harm their bottom line.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Better questions
    is WB offering them that much better of a price?
    is WB still selling them "rental" versions of the discs with far fewer features and more advertising?

    I've never used UV, but does it still require logging into 4 different accounts in different systems and then sacrificing a chicken to a dark god that it'll actually work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    JEDIDAH, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    Need a snappy name for glorified rentals.

    True but what alternative distinction would you prefer? Media-free?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    Rentals are a form of promotion. They are a legal variant of "try before you buy". If you allow rentals when the work is first for sale then you have the possibility that you will get more sales because people really like your stuff.

    If you force people to wait 2 months then the excitement is lost. People may forget all about your movie. It may even be marked down and headed for the $5 bargain bin in 2 months.

    The industry is deluded that they can push the casual customer into spending more. People will likely just not bother.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 10:04am

    I haven't met a single person on this planet that would buy a movie because they couldn't wait four weeks to rent it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Dave Xanatos, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    Re:

    My kids are more resistant to illness because they've been exposed more. Avoiding every little bug is a great way to short circuit your immune system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Zos (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Re:

    the smarter geeks use something like usenetstorm and don't bother with a usenet account.

    personally i'm a late to the party second generation geek, so i just got a proxy and stick to torrents.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    techflaws (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 3:51am

    Re:

    Mysophobic much?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 4:35am

    Re: Re: "Warner opens itself up to more piracy..."

    It's a simple question, Tom Cushong. Yes or no, what is it? [I will arbitrarily add a non-related question just because I can troll] Is DH realeasing a 2013 calendar with nude pics of himself or not? RAAWRR, Y U NO ANSWER QUESTION?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    IronM@sk, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 7:56pm

    Quality Control?

    The main problem I have with UltraViolet is that it is NOT a standard for encoding video. It's just a locker for licensing restrictions. People seeing the UltraViolet logo will quite naturally expect a certain level of quality from their digital product. Unfortunately, with no set standard for said quality (video/audio size and bitrate), it is likely to suffer consumer backlash, not just for it's ridiculous setup inconvenience, but for the varying quality they receive from different content providers.

    Even the "Scene" can self-manage/police quality standards to bring you quality far exceeding studio encodes for those terrible "+ digital copy" versions that come with Blu-ray discs these days.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    McMitch, Jan 10th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: clockwork orange

    Never was able to understand the broken English that those were talking. Reading your comment made me think to watch it with the CC on. Thanks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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