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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

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?

posted in:
dvd buzz | movie buzz | Net buzz
  • Sure, this is sleazy, and annoying, but no one is forcing anyone to buy them. I sure as hell won’t. I just wait for movies to become availble for rental through streaming or disc. Problem solved. It’s good to be patient.

  • LaSargenta

    I have so little time for ‘entertainment’ that there is no reason for me to rush for this stuff. So, no, I don’t buy.

  • I stopped buying physical formats years ago, and now with netflix and other online ways of watching movies at what is essentially no cost, I don’t mind waiting. And every once in a while Ellen DeGeneres sends me a copy of one of her DVD Screeners.

  • RogerBW

    “People have no patience.” The initial buzz has long since gone, so what do I care if it’s a few more weeks before I can get hold of the thing?

    (I won’t “buy” films on-line until I can buy them, rather than renting them at someone else’s whim.)

  • Kathy_A

    I get DVDs because that’s where I can get all of the extras. Unless I simply MUST have a movie, I won’t bother getting it unless it has a commentary and at least a few making-of videos included. I’ve never downloaded a film, ever.

  • David C-D

    I spent I think $7 for the 50th Anniversary episode (and another $6 for an Adventure in Space and Time which I still haven’t got around to watching).

    Other than that, I am pretty much content with Netflix/Redbox.

  • althea

    I’m reminded of a guy I used to know who was early in the game of collecting video. He had special cabinets built to house collection of VHS. (He still went to the theater too.) I wonder how he’s made the transition to DVD, and whether he’s moved on to online. Even back in the day, it seemed silly to me that he’d have hundreds of movies, most of which he’d almost certainly never see again, no matter how much time he devoted to it.

    The element that probably mattered most back then was that a lot of world cinema would have been hard to get. That’s disappeared too. I’ve recently borrowed a couple of silent movies from the library. I’ve rented an Australian movie from Amazon, and could have bought the online version or the DVD, including BluRay. Seems to me that new movies have a whole lot to compete with, and since people can experience practically anything in the comfort of home, the theater experience has probably lost standing, and the urgency of seeing a movie as soon as it comes out has faded as well.

    I’ll speculate that there’s a core audience that wants it now, and the mass audience is dwindling around it.

  • RogerBW

    I’ve argued before that modern film has to compete with everything that’s ever come out on DVD.
    I have a fairly substantial collection, but the DVDs are in the loft — all the films are on spinning rust. Yeah, maybe I won’t watch some of them again. But they’re there if I want to check them.

  • Jonathan Roth

    Pacific Rim was the only movie I bought outright instead of renting because of this gap. Everything else, I’ve waited on.

    I rarely get first releases anymore, whether it’s books, games, or movies. Helps to save money, but it does come with a significant social cost.

  • Tonio Kruger

    Actually most of the movies I watch nowadays are DVDs I rent at the local library. The last movies I actually paid full price to see were In a World, Machete Kills and The World’s End — and frankly, I kinda wish I had waited a bit to see the Rodriguez flick since it hit the second-run theatres so fast.

    Anyway, it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about going to the movies this day and age. Especially since the movie you pay full price to see in March will often be in the DVD collection of the local library by November…

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