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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

this is why you’re spending more on movies these days

Because the studios are being sneaky bastards, according to The Wall Street Journal:

After years of trying to convince consumers to buy movies online, Hollywood found a solution in 2013: Make it the only option.

[A] primary reason for the accelerating growth in online sales is the widespread adoption of a new release window marketed as “Digital HD.” For one to four weeks before a movie becomes available on DVD or to rent online, studios make new movies available to purchase from digital stores like Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store and Amazon.com Inc. in high definition.

Although some people are now buying movies online who might otherwise have bought a DVD or Blu-ray disc, studio executives said the biggest change is people who would have rented a movie but now, unwilling to wait, are buying it instead.

Online movie sales are studios’ highest-profit-margin transaction, along with Blu-ray discs, which is why they have aggressively pushed the format.

Despite widespread speculation that studios would do away with so-called release windows, and instead release movies in multiple formats simultaneously, they have been doing just the opposite. In addition to the early digital window, several studios have pushed back on buck-a-night DVD rentals from kiosks, making them wait four weeks after a DVD is released.

Are you buying films on demand before they’ve available in physical formats? Or are you just waiting longer?

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