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Warner makes Netflix delay new movies 4 weeks

updated 05:15 pm EST, Wed January 6, 2010

Streaming threat makes Warner stall Netflix

Netflix today said it had struck a deal with Warner Bros. to keep receiving new release movies. Under the terms, Blu-ray and DVD movies will only reach Netflix four weeks after they're first available at physical stores. In exchange, Netflix rights to Warner's movies for its Watch Instantly streaming feature and should see the movie catalog expand significantly beyond its current levels.

The movie rental firm interprets the move as a "win-win" partly because it addresses problems the company has had with supply of new release titles in the past as well as lowering the bulk price it pays to get new movies.

Nonetheless, the necessary delay has admittedly been implemented to help Warner, which wants the roughly month-long interval to protect its physical movie sales. Studios have increasingly pushed back against the shift to online downloads, and while stores like iTunes and the Zune Marketplace already require delays between purchases and rentals, mixed services like Netflix haven't had their physical copies restricted to avoid killing their Internet components until today.

The move follows legal efforts by studios to limit the accessibility of new titles to the kiosk-based Redbox service, which so far doesn't have an Internet aspect but whose very low cost rentals have been perceived as a threat to DVD sales.

by MacNN Staff



  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This will only serve to drive up piracy. By the time a month's gone by after the DVD/BluRay release and accompanying advertising blitz, many will have completely forgotten about the movies in question. This is only going to harm Warner's rental revenues, as the amount of people who choose to buy a movie because it's unavailable for rent will be insufficient to make up for the lost rentals as the movie's public awareness fades, and as a significant portion turn to piracy when convenient and affordable options are taken away from them.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can't believe the story shows a picture of the movie "True Lies" - one of the worst movies ever made. Let's play a game - abuse my wife, humiliate her, scare the c*** out of her, and make her think she's going to die - just so I can show her what a man I am. Then let's go get shot at by a hundred machine guns and escape unhurt. Disgusting movie.

  1. jpellino

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bad move.

    Seems Netflix blinked. Do they delay the rentals 4 weeks at physical video stores? Do they do this to Blockbuster? While we're on it - can anyone tell me why a BluRay has to cost nearly twice what a DVD does? It's a pressed disc. The media is $2 in bulk vs $.50 for DVDs. My plan is to buy a bluray player and continue to buy DVDs until the price pars.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Weak

    many will have completely forgotten about the movies in question.

    More like a weak argument.

    How are they going to 'forget' about the movies? It's netflix, which means you'd stick it in your queue even before it's released, and you get it when you get it. This would be a problem if you had to go to your neighborhood video store and were scanning shelves, but that's so 20th century, dude.

    And with Netflix, there's no promise of when you'll get a movie anyway, so even if it was immediately 'available', you still might not get the disk for weeks.

    And, seriously, if the movie had so little interest for you that you forgot about it in those four weeks, how in the world did it grab your attention when it was released on disc? Based on that argument, you should be stating that they should be selling the DVDs the day the movie hits the theaters. That way they can maximize their profits and reduce their advertising costs...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Bad Move

    While we're on it - can anyone tell me why a BluRay has to cost nearly twice what a DVD does? It's a pressed disc. The media is $2 in bulk vs $.50 for DVDs.

    Why does anyone think the cost of whatever you buy should somehow magically be linked directly to the price of the raw material it is printed on? Based on that theory, those 6 disk collector sets of the Lord of the Rings trilogy stuff should cost just $2 more than just one of the movies.

    And what of all the money you spend to get to the point of producing that disk? Or does no one have to pay to produce the master disks, buy the hardware to perform the pressings, pay the people to operate the hardware, etc?

    Finally, the average BluRay disk contains more content than your DVD purchase. Or do you think all that extra content is free to make and produce?

    And, more importantly, you're paying for an overall better product, visually speaking. Do you think the HD-ness of a movie is not worth any money? In fact, if they sold at the same price, there'd be more people without BluRay complaining that they're being robbed, as they are getting less value for the same amount of money.

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