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die hard is a xmas movie | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Does an on-demand DVD business make sense?

Warner Bros. this week launched the Warner Archive Collection, an on-demand DVD service that USA Today described this way:

[F]ans eventually will be able to order any of the 6,800 theatrical features in the studio’s library not available on disc and receive a custom-made DVD within a week for $20.

Only about 1,200 films in the Warner library have been released on DVD, large part because of space constraints at retail….

[The collection launched] with an initial slate of 150 films that have never been on DVD, such as 1943’s Mr. Lucky, with Cary Grant and Laraine Day, and 1962’s All Fall Down with Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint. The oldest film in this first wave is the 1923 silent scorcher Souls for Sale; the newest is 1986’s Wisdom, with Demi Moore and Emilio Estevez.

Plans call for 20 or more classic films and TV shows to be added each month, Feltenstein says. To order films, consumers go to the website, select titles and place orders, which are manufactured and shipped in shrink-wrapped plastic cases identical to those of commercial DVDs. Consumers also will be able to order films digitally, downloaded directly to their computers, for $15.

It seems a bit odd to me that the digital download option is merely an afterthought, at least how USA Today frames it (and it should be less than $15, too — maybe $10 — when you factor in all the effort and material on Warner Bros.’ part that does not have to go into a digital download). Of course, not everyone — at least not yet — will want to or will be able to download a film and either burn a disc themselves, watch a movie on a PC, or connect a PC to a TV for viewing. But the movies could be offered via cable on-demand services, or via Netflix’s new settop box. At the very least, to minimize waste, must the custom-made DVDs be shrink-wrapped? What purpose does that serve?

What do you think? Does an on-demand DVD business make sense?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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