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
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.