More Studios Delaying Netflix Releases = More Stupid Studios

Studios and Netflix look pretty dumb in light of Paramount study

Earlier this week I wondered about the Netflix release delay of Green Zone.  It isn’t a Warner Bros. release, so it shouldn’t be subject to their agreed upon 28 day delay, right?  Wrong.  It looks like Universal (the studio releasing Green Zone) and Fox have also sealed deals with Netflix to delay their DVD releases for rent.

In light of famine, global warming and gushing oil spills this hardly measures as tragic.  It is, however, annoying, particularly for those of us who rent rather than buy our DVDs.  The logic, apparently, is that if the studios make renters wait an extra month they are more likely to buy the DVD.

Bullshit.

Renters and buyers are different breeds.

If I really want to see something, I’ll see it in the theater.  If I am waiting for it on DVD it’s because I don’t want to pay full theater price for it.  I’m sure as hell not going to shell out full DVD price for a movie that might suck and that I will almost certainly watch only one time.   DVD buyers are going to buy no matter what – they collect DVDs, are repeat watchers, or whatever.  They aren’t me and I’m not them – nothing the studios do is going to change that.

And now we have proof that I am right.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting a 10 month Paramount study of  the the impact on DVD sales when rentals were delayed. The result?  Withholding rentals does not increase sales.  No freaking duh, people.  For a bunch of people who supposedly live and breathe movies, Warner Bros., Universal and Fox sure as hell don’t know much about the people who watch their products.

I shouldn’t be surprised, really.  It’s a leap before you look world.  Why bother checking to make sure your theories are sound before acting on them?  That just delays the money factory!  Too bad, big boys, your money well is not going to be helped by withholding rentals.  As a matter of fact, your bottom line might suffer more than just a little bit and in ways you didn’t see coming.

You see, also inferred in the Paramount study is that those who want to see a DVD on release day without buying it are going to find a way.  In other words, withholding rentals is just going to increase piracy.  The studio then loses both a rental and their mythical sale.  Add in anyone else who watches the pirated movie and there goes more rental money.

Then add in me.  I don’t steal movies.  But the studios refused to do their homework and thought they could trick or strong-arm me into buying products I have no desire to own.  Thus I will be punitive and vindictive.  That’s just how I roll, people.   Though I don’t see a whole lot of movies in the theater, that number has begun to increase as my kids get older.  I also like to see things in the nice, expensive theater.  But I’m choosy about the films upon which I lavish my big screen dollars.  Unless Warner Bros., Universal and Fox decide to release their stranglehold on Netflix, I may just stop seeing their films in the theater.  Wouldn’t that just be too bad for them.

Studios need to remember that regardless of what their focus groups and polls and other yes-men tell them, it’s the people who have the money that keep them afloat.  Does my teenage boy spend money going to movies?  Yes.  Where does he get it?  From me.  Keep me happy or lose my business, folks.  And his.   That’s the way capitalism works.  If you screw up, you better come crawling back and do some ass kissing if you want me to give you the money that I work long and hard to earn.  In other words, stop pissing me off or my wallet closes.

For now, I’m giving Netflix a provisional pass on my wrath, for I imagine they were forced into these deals with threats of complete withdrawal of access to the titles held by the studios involved.  But I’d surely like to see some lobbying by them to regain first day renting rights now that it has been proven that withholding does no one any good and only harms Netflix and helps those who steal movies.  If they won’t stand up for themselves, I’m sure as hell not going to.  They might be stuck with the deals already on the books, but any more like them signals a company that doesn’t have a spine or a brain.

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