Time Warner Imposes 28 Day New Release Library Delay
Because This Will Clearly Save Sagging DVD Sales?
by Karl Bode 09:16AM Friday Oct 21 2011 Tipped by seginus
Early in 2010 Warner Brothers and several other studios convinced Netflix to agree to a 28-day delay before new releases
, in the belief that this would prop up sagging DVD sales in the age of broadband video. It didn't work, thanks in large part because customers have more patience than the studios expected -- and because a Netflix subscription (despite recent hikes) still remains less than the cost of most DVDs. Despite this, Warner insisted the arrangement was a "success" and has recently been pushing to have that delay extended
and imposed on all rental companies.
While they wait, the company has apparently been taking aim at library impact on DVD sales, and has been busy imposing similar delay requirements on library loans. The Swiss Army Liberation
blog and MidWest Tape
note that Warner Brothers is now placing a 28 day embargo on sales of Warner feature titles to libraries. They're also stripping out content from these copies, albeit at a price discount:
In addition to being released 28 days after the retail version, Warner’s rental version DVDs and Blu-rays will not contain bonus features or extras. However, we understand that there will be a significant price reduction for these products, apparently amounting to an average $4 per DVD title and $8 per Blu-ray title (see cost breakdown below). Warner Home Video has announced that it may seek to enforce its new policy by auditing its distribution partners’ sales. Additionally, Warner may require retailers, like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target, to limit the number of copies of a new release that may be sold to a single customer.
Like so many legacy businesses impacted by broadband, executives apparently believe that making it harder for users to obtain content will prevent or slow the extinction of physical media. It will likely due neither, but it will likely continue to contribute to soaring piracy rates, a chain reaction studios haven't quite figured out a decade down the line.