Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 by Peter Sciretta
The sale of physical movies is way down, as a result: some of the movie studios have been acting irrationally — forcing delays on physical rental services like Netflix, Blockbuster and Redbox. Because if customers aren’t buying your movies anymore, they must be punished.
Earlier this month it was announced that Warner Bros would no longer sell their DVDs and Blu-rays to rental services unless they adhere to a 56-day delay. This move forces film fans to pay full retail to see a new DVD/Blu-ray release, or wait until two months later to rent the film. Engadget reported that it was heavily implied “that the studio was threatening to withdraw access to its library unless the rental service complied.” Well it looks like Redbox won’t be having any part of this.
Variety reposts that “after lengthy talks between WB and Redbox this month, the companies couldn’t come to an agreement over the new demands from the studio.” Redbox will instead purchase the movies on DVD and Blu-ray through “alternate means” (aka retail) and offer the movies for rental the same day as they are released in stores for purchase.
Even though I don’t use the Redbox kiosks, I admire Redbox for sticking up to the studio in the face of these unreasonable operating requests. It’s sad how little Hollywood has learned from the music industry over the last decade. It should be noted that some other studios (like Paramount) have thought this out and come to the conclusion that offering same-day rental doesn’t affect disc sales. I hope that Redbox decides not to renew its 28-day rental delay deal with Universal which comes up in April.