Netflix bows to Time Warner, agrees to 56-day new release delays; Redbox andBlockbuster fight back
Time Warner Inc. has called on Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster to wait eight weeks after their movies have been released on DVD before they can rent them to customers.
Netflix, which has recently been focusing more on the streaming business, quickly agreed to the deal and lengthened the rental delay from 28 days to 56 days. Meanwhile, Redbox and Blockbuster have yet to come to an agreement with Time Warner Inc., with industry insiders quoted as saying the two companies would find other ways to rent out the DVDs.
The four-week rental delay didn’t help DVD sales any, so it’s hard to imagine an eight week rental delay will help in the slightest
According to the First Sale doctrine, companies are allowed to resell pre-recorded discs from third-party distributors. While this option may end up being more costly to Redbox and Blockbuster, it would ensure that they would have DVDs the day they were released. But don’t be surprised if the rental fee goes up just a bit more.
Most DVDs currently have a 28-day rental delay window from the day they’re released. And according to the research firm IHS Screen Digest, DVD and Blu-ray sales are expected to have dropped 8 percent in 2011 from the year before.
Clearly, the four-week rental delay didn’t help DVD sales any, so it’s hard to imagine an eight week rental delay will help in the slightest, but as the Wall Street Journalreports: “The change is part of a broader pattern of adjustment to the movie industry's 'window' system, used by studios to maximize revenue by carefully controlling a movie's availability through various means.”
Redbox’s current contract with Time Warner Inc. expires at the end of the month, and it doesn’t look like they’ll be renewing it anytime soon.
So what say you, readers? Would you wait 56 days to rent a movie — or would you just cave in and buy the DVD?