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Hollywood studios consider early movie rentals at home

22 Mar 2017 | Rasmus Larsen |

Six of the seven major Hollywood studios are negotiating with partners to offer movies at home much earlier than today. Some studios hope to offer movies just 17 days after the theatrical debut, according to Variety.

From 90 days to a few weeks

Hollywood's "window" model dictates that major movies screen exclusively in the cinema for 70-90 days before they are made available to consumers at home. Netflix is trying to break down the model and most of the established Hollywood studios are now prepared to act, too, according to Variety.

Six of the seven major Hollywood studios are currently planning to "offer movies in the home mere weeks after their theatrical debut". Only Disney wants status quo to last. One of the reasons is that DVD sales have plummeted, leaving exhibitors with a larger slice of the pie. It is never wise to put all eggs into one basket.

Warner reportedly wants to offer movie rentals at home after just 17 days for $50 per title. A percentage of the amount will go to cinema chains in order to convince them to agree to the terms. Others studios have proposed lower prices but a longer window of 20-45 days. More flexible models are also being discussed.

- "Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara had kicked off negotiations with exhibitors by offering to cut them in on a percentage of digital revenues if they agreed to let them debut films on-demand for $50 a rental some 17 days after they opened," Variety wrote.

Movie studios also believe that marketing dollars will be better spent if windows are shortened as consumers will be less likely to forget about the movie.

Apple, Netflix & new players

Negotiations have been ongoing for over a year. It has been reported that a new player by the name of The Screening Room is hoping to offer movies at home much earlier than today. Apple is also said to push to offer movies in the home just 14 days after the theatrical debut.

Despite ongoing negotiations a deal is not imminent, Variety added. Exhibitors are also demanding that terms for purchase of discs and digital copies remain unchanged (approx. 90 days). This would obviously be a blow to the Blu-ray format.

The internet is changing the film industry much like it has revolutionized other markets over the last two decades. The question is if incumbents can remain on top or if new players will rise to capture a large slice of the market. Netflix and Amazon are already financing movies, and Netflix will release its movies online and in the cinema on the same day globally. We will see Netflix's bet on movies unfold later this year.

- Source: Variety

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