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Film Studios May Block DVD Rentals For One Month

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the some-dare-call-it-collusion dept.

Movies 545

Ponca City, We love you writes "The LA Times reports that in an effort to push consumers toward buying more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale. Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few weeks, after which time companies such as Blockbuster and Netflix would be allowed to rent the DVDs to their customers. 'The studios are wrestling with declines in DVD sales while the DVD rental market has been modestly growing,' says Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix. 'If we can agree on low-enough pricing, delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone.' Three studios have already tried to impose a no-rental period of about a month on Redbox, the operator of kiosks that rent movies for $1 per night, believing that Redbox's steeply discounted price undercuts DVD sales. Redbox has responded by suing the studios, seeking to force them to sell it DVDs simultaneously with competitors. Meanwhile, the company is stocking its kiosks with DVDs it can't otherwise obtain by buying them from retailers."

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545 comments

hey, it beats (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889265)

trying to sell people what they want or how they want it~

Re:hey, it beats (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889335)

Let me check something here ... just a second ... yup, thought so, I don't really care if I get to rent a movie 2 weeks after it leaves the cinema or I have to wait 6 or 8 weeks.

In neither case am I going to feel any more or less compelled to buy the movie instead.

Re:hey, it beats (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889433)

In neither case am I going to feel any more or less compelled to buy the movie instead.

Really? Because I'm the type of guy, when someone tries to push me around, I will do the opposite of what they want just to show them they shouldn't try to push people around. Screw these bozos, I'll put off buying any new movies until they quite this greedy behavior.

Re:hey, it beats (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889685)

Really? Because I'm the type of guy, when someone tries to push me around, I will do the opposite of what they want just to show them they shouldn't try to push people around. Screw these bozos, I'll put off buying any new movies until they quite this greedy behavior.

Yeah, cut your nose off to spite your face. That's a good plan. It'll really show them who's boss!

My bet: you talk big, but you won't actually modify your behavior (iow: either you already don't buy movies, or you'll keep buying at the same rate).

Re:hey, it beats (3, Insightful)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889757)

I'm completely with you. This won't change the way I do things one bit. I love all of the "screw the man" rhetoric that's all over the place, but really, how is this going to affect most people?

There will be a few people too impatient to wait for a rental so the run out and buy it right away, but most people who want to see a movie that bad will have already seen it in the theaters. There are obviously a few anti-authoritarian types who are going to use this shift in policy to justify breaking the rules. The rest of us will just continue operating the same way we've been operating. We'll buy it if it is a movie we wanted to buy or we'll rent it if it is a movie that we want to rent.

Re:hey, it beats (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889797)

I doubt that you're their target audience. How much of the crap that gets turned out by the movie do you ever rent? Personally I'm more likely to rent a good movie from a decade or two ago than the latest release; but there's a market for latest crap rentals. If a movie's good enough I'll see it in a theater, if it isn't I may rent it two years from now...but probably not.

Re:hey, it beats (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889631)

Some of the lyrics of "Because I got high" seem amazingly appropriate to the way these folks are acting:

I was gonna go to work but then I got high
I just got a new promotion but I got high
now i'm selling dope and i know why
why man -cause I was high [repeat 3x]

Now i'ma stop singing this song because i'm high
i'm singing the whole thing wrong cause i'm high
and if i don't sell one copy i'll know why
-cause i was high [repeat 3x]

When will these idiots at the studios work out that their bull market is done and dusted? Maybe someone needs to put it into a newspaper for them to finally get it, because word anywhere else seems to be making amazing WHOOOSSSHHHH noises but little more.

So.... (5, Insightful)

mcwop (31034) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889313)

I'll do what I already do, save it in my Netflix Q, and wait for the rental. I already waited for the rental rather than going to the theater. Hope it works out for them.

Re:So.... (1)

belly917 (928006) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889475)

Same here. I very rarely see movies in theaters, so I wait for the rental. What's waiting a few more weeks? Heck, push me a little more and I won't even bother watching it at all

Movie studio's need to wake up. Between (1)theater tickets costing too much, (2) movies sucking, (3)dvd's being phased our for blu-ray, (4)blu-ray costing way tooo much, (5) most movies I only want to see once & I'll never watch again (6) Blockbuster being overprice; the balance of cost vs. enjoyment is way out of line.

Redbox on the other hand gets that most movies are only worth about $1

DVD vs. BluRay (2, Insightful)

Targon (17348) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889323)

With BluRay here, but more expensive, many people may have decided to wait a bit on buying until the BD version gets a bit cheaper. I wonder if these people have even considered that.

Re:DVD vs. BluRay (0, Troll)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889531)

I wouldn't buy a BluRay movie unless it was significantly cheaper than one on DVD. Why would I pay more for a disk that I need a more expensive player for that outputs exactly the same (on my non-$2000 TV)?

Re:DVD vs. BluRay (4, Insightful)

roguetrick (1147853) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889747)

That's a stupid response. I wouldn't buy gas since my bike doesn't use it and a car is too expensive! No shit!

Re:DVD vs. BluRay (4, Insightful)

webheaded (997188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889759)

Hi there Captain Obvious. You mean you don't want to buy something that will have no discernible benefit for you? What the heck was the point of even posting that other than to bitch about...well what are you even whining about?

Another Viewpoint (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889325)

A few days ago I happened to read an article from a different viewpoint [nytimes.com] that said:

Until very recently, most Hollywood heavyweights were loath to speak too openly about the promise of digital entertainment — the downloading and streaming of movies and television shows on computers, Internet-enabled televisions and mobile devices. Nobody wanted to anger retail partners like Wal-Mart or do anything that might slow the DVD gravy train.

followed up with

A variety of factors have influenced Hollywood’s new aggression on the digital front. This year, Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers started cutting the amount of shelf space they devote to DVDs, and some other retail partners, like Circuit City, have gone out of business. So movie studios now worry less about angering them by pulling digital levers.

The article actually highlights some moves that Disney (I know, I was shocked as well) has made to improve digital ownership for the consumer. And there are going to be a lot of failures (Disney already tried Moviebeam) but it's probably pretty clear that this is the future past Blu-ray.

The film studios' reasons for falling sales? First it was piracy. Now that that's been reigned in it must be rentals, Netflix and Redbox. And once that tapers off and the DVD gravy train doesn't kick back up it'll be some other bullshit. Never will it be the fact that 99% of movie trailers I see today I don't care for and 99% of the ones I watch have little to no replay value. Never will it be the declining quality of the product. Never will it be the fact that I have bought this movie in three other formats goddammit--why do I need to pay for blu-ray? Never will it be the fact that buying it on blu-ray allows me to play it on only one device in my house when I have many more capable of playing movies.

Go ahead, pin the blame on someone else. I don't care. But you won't fix the problem until you look at all the contributing factors. It is ignorance to think it is just one of these. Die a slow painful death, I just hope my children don't have to put with you acting like children.

Re:Another Viewpoint (1, Interesting)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889537)

Disney's attitude toward digital media has changed a lot for the better since Eisner fucked off out and Steve Jobs became Disneys biggest shareholder after the pixar purchase. ;-)

Welcome To The (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889327)

New World Order [youtube.com] .

"I am the NWO living off the backs of others fucking the planet over for a buck. You are the NWO manifesting your desire to be ruled like gimps and kept like pets."

I would add "worse than pets".

Yours In Novorossisysk,
Kilgore Trout

Increase profits for everyone... (0, Flamebait)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889329)

This may increase profits for everyone, except the consumer. How wonderful. Thanks Capitalism!

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889499)

Then don't buy their products. They can not profit from you at that point without some type of socialism.

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (2, Funny)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889749)

I think the word you're looking for is fascism. But hey, it's all the same thing, right?

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (1)

longfalcon (202977) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889533)

there is no "profit" for the consumer. there is a product that consumer can choose to purchase/rent/whatever.

and you can thank "capitalism" that Redbox even exists and provides a great service for a minimal fee.

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889547)

idiot

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889599)

Hey you could always try communism. Oh wait, no you can't it already failed.
Perhaps socialism? No that's not really an economics system. Oh well, stuck with capitalism i guess. You're boned dude.

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889649)

Barter always works.

Re:Increase profits for everyone... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889687)

Barter is a mild form of capitalism where you hope you get a bit more than you bargain for. It just takes the money part out. It's still capitalism.

God forbid... (2)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889337)

...that they provide services that the market wants. (I mean, who ever made a profit pleasing customers?) I hope that anti-trust law isn't too eviscerated to go after them for this BS.

Re:God forbid... (1, Flamebait)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889563)

...that they provide services that the market wants. (I mean, who ever made a profit pleasing customers?) I hope that anti-trust law isn't too eviscerated to go after them for this BS.

Let's see...Hollywood...huge contributor to one of the major political parties...

Seems to me that the political party I'm trying to remember might be significant somehow. Perhaps the Party of the Speaker of the House? President Pro Tem of the Senate? President of the Senate? President of the USA?

One of those guys anyway...

So chances are pretty good antitrust laws won't be used against them while whichever of those guys it is is still in office....

Re:God forbid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889763)

You're on something if you think they only contribute to one of the parties.

Re:God forbid... (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889615)

I would have hoped that you would actually understand what anti-trust meant but that was too much to hope for too.

There's nothing worth buying OR renting lately... (0)

jddeluxe (965655) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889339)

I haven't even rented a DVD in months as in the rare event there's something worth seeing I go catch it in a theater; I keep looking at that Redbox kiosk every time I hit the grocery store and there's nothing worth a $1/night....

Re:There's nothing worth buying OR renting lately. (1)

f2x (1168695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889647)

I'm going to second that. I really liked the idea of Redbox until I looked at the selection of movies that it carried. Sorry, but no thank you. For less than a dollar a day I can get better quality entertainment from Youtube.

Maybe they could ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889341)

Just set up special places where they would show the DVDs on large screens before they tried to sell them.

Re:Maybe they could ... (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889403)

It's a good idea in theory, but if past behaviour is any indication they'd probably take advantage of the captive audience by overcharging for basic snacks.

Re:Maybe they could ... (-1, Troll)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889633)

whooosh, or did you mean to be facetious and failed miserably?

they could try making films worth buying (5, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889349)

I have heard of modern film making described as a form of investment banking where somehow magically a movie comes out the other end of the process. Taste, aesthetics, or common sense seem to be no part of this process. I can see why the studios would view the public as the same witless drug addled types as they star in these movies and therefore think them incapable of making the simple choice of not buying a poor product.

Redbox buying DVDs (5, Informative)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889353)

My brother in law works for redbox, and sure enough, every time a new major film is released to DVD, he goes to every walmart in his area (and we're not talking just one county here) and purchases anywhere from several hundred to a couple thousand copies, starting at midnight. He then takes them home and one by one puts them into non studio-branded cases, then goes out and stocks the redbox machines he manages.

Re: Aren't retail dvds different from rental dvds? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889437)

It may just be me, but don't the retail DVDs have a disclaimer exclusively stating that rental is prohibited? In fact I thought the rental DVDs had a different disclaimer altogether?

Re: Aren't retail dvds different from rental dvds? (2, Insightful)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889573)

How could they prohibit rental? There's nothing illegal about renting out movies.

Re: Aren't retail dvds different from rental dvds? (1)

rnelsonee (98732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889777)

Well, it's a federal crime to distribute [freefilmschool.org] movies without authorization.

Re: Aren't retail dvds different from rental dvds? (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889581)

Redbox is already being sued by and suing all the major studios, so I think they don't really care too much. But then again I'm certainly no expert on this. What little knowledge I have here is secondhand.

Re: Aren't retail dvds different from rental dvds? (4, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889733)

What makes you think that has any kind of legal weight? There's the doctrine of first sale here in the US, and believe it or not, it is mostly still valid.

Re:Redbox buying DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889441)

Just curious: does he literally drive to each one and buy out their stock, or does he have some kind of ordering arrangement?

Re:Redbox buying DVDs (1)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889553)

He has to actually drive to each of them. I'm not sure that he doesn't have his underlings help now that he has underlings, but last time I was in town, he was doing it all himself.

Great Idea! (4, Insightful)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889375)

Actually, this is so stupid I don't even feel like making a snarky comment.
All I really have to say is the obvious: Screwing people only drives them towards piracy. People rent a movie because they don't want to pay $20-30 for something they will only watch once. Doing this won't change that, so if the option goes from "pirate it or rent it for $5" to "pirate it or buy it for $20", do you really think that's gonna help the studios?
So fucking stupid.
-Taylor

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889477)

Agreed.

But it won't go from "pirate it or rent it for $5" to "pirate it or buy it for $20". It goes to "pirate it as always or wait till it is available for rent for $5." Which might just turn into "rent for $10" before the year is over...

They really wanna milk cows for more milk that is available...

Re:Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889775)

Exactly. They spend fortunes on marketing, only to hinder people from seeing it. If the film is any good, people will buy it, right? Online rental services are free marketing.

Sounds legit to me. (5, Insightful)

Manos_Of_Fate (1092793) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889385)

The three major players of an industry getting together in an attempt to shut out a perceived competitor? I don't see anything shady there...

Increase piracy (1)

guytoronto (956941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889389)

So, instead of spending $4 to watch the latest movie on DVD, studios want you to spend a minimum $20. How many of those people will just go the other way, and download a BitTorrent?

Re:Increase piracy (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889467)

correction:
So, instead of spending $4 to watch the latest movie on DVD, studios want you to wait 4-6 weeks before t
renting it.

OMG the world is ending~

Re:Increase piracy (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889523)

Simple they are hoping that the people who mostly rent movies are not the technically savvy type. I too was surprised when Redbox became popular, I figured that once you kept a movies for more than 11 days a month it made more sense to get Netflix, plus the streaming dear god recent TV show streaming is great. It has still found its niche market though and turned a profit. The studios are hoping that if they can cartel up they can wield more power over outfits like Hollywood Video, Redbox, Blockbuster and Netflix while simultaneously increasing DVD sales.

by that time (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889393)

I'll have gotten impatient and found it on BT.

oh ya, that's going to help sales....

brilliant. simply brilliant.

First sale doctrine? (4, Interesting)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889397)

Wasn't this settled in the 1980's Betamax Supreme Court judgment? I thought that movie rental shops had the right of first sale and don't need approval from studios to rent movies, or am I missing something here?

Re:First sale doctrine? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889527)

Netflix, Blockbuster and others probably get bulk deals. The summary says that Redbox have resorted to buying new releases at retail, so I'm guessing the studios are simply not offering wholesale prices to the rental companies for a month. So, the rental companies will buy at retail, and pass the costs on to us. They break even, the studios win, we lose.

Re:First sale doctrine? (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889605)

I read that Blockbuster pays a tithe to the movie studios, and operates with their blessing. Redbox doesn't, so the studios won't do business directly with Redbox, and (I think) have tried to shut them down.

If Blockbuster participates in this scheme, I imagine it will because the movie studios force them to.

Can someone explain.. (4, Interesting)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889405)

How this is possible? I don't understand the whole rental world. How does the studio have any control over it? Sure, they own the copyright on the material on the disk but I own the disk. I can sell it, why can't I rent it out to someone?

What legal principle prevents me from loaning out, selling, or renting any (physical) CD/DVD/Book that I have purchased? Do these companies seriously have to buy special versions that they rent out? They have copyright which let's them dictate copying or performance, giving out the physical item I bought doesn't seem to fall in that category.

Re:Can someone explain.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889501)

The studio can refuse to sell to you. Yeah you can buy copies retail or on the secondary market and rent those out, and Redbox apparently does that, but you end up paying more middlemen and going to a lot of inconvenience. We're not talking about a handful of copies if you're an outfit like Netflix or Blockbuster. It's more like tens of thousands of copies, and getting your hands on that many is not so easy unless you buy them from the studios just like Walmart does.

Re:Can someone explain.. (0)

blhack (921171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889517)

Sure, they own the copyright on the material on the disk but I own the disk. I can sell it, why can't I rent it out to someone?

Because you own the disk and not the content on it. It is a bit like me owning my kindle but not really owning the books on it. The difference is that it is much more difficult to remove the movies from the DVD than it is to remove things from my kindle.

What you do own is a a very specific license that grants you the ability to play the content of the disc that you bought in ways that have been determined by the content's owners.

Re:Can someone explain.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889673)

What you do own is a a very specific license that grants you the ability to play the content of the disc that you bought in ways that have been determined by the content's owners.

Nonsense. I bought a disk. I own it. I have the right to sell, rent, lend, or give away that disk as I choose. There's no "license" involved.
Copyright and related laws affect my rights to copying, redistribution, and performance of the content. But the disk, with the copy of the content it contains, is mine.

Re:Can someone explain.. (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889521)

The studios give the big rental companies steep discounts on quantity. Also, they make sure the rental companies have their stock in time for release day renting. Having to pay retail for each DVD REALLY cuts into income, among other things.

Re:Can someone explain.. (1)

Mortlath (780961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889557)

From the linked article:

To get them on board, studios probably would have to offer them a lower wholesale price than that paid by retailers, currently $18 for most standard DVDs and $25 for high-definition Blu-ray discs.

RTF(2nd)A (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889567)

Once you have a DVD in your hands you can rent or resell it as much as you want (first sale doctrine). However, the studios refuse to sell DVDs directly to rental companies, and the studios get their wholesale distributors to sign contracts refusing to sell to rental companies. Then the rental companies have to buy DVDs at retail price at Wal-Mart, which increases their costs.

Re:Can someone explain.. (2, Insightful)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889585)

Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

There are *some* limitations. But if you RTFA, these are voluntary agreements by the DVD rental places, so they get cheaper DVDs to rent, but delayed.

IMHO, it's basically trying to effectively bring back the equivalent of the "video rental window", where the VHS tape originally cost $85 or so, so the rental companies would have to pay a lot so they could rent the "hot new releases"... The people that really want it the day it's released (might) buy it when it comes out.. The DVD rental places that don't want to pay full price can wait... As someone else said, RedBox apparently already buys retail copies of movies, and might continue to do so.

Re:Can someone explain.. (0)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889595)

rental is a subset of performance.

Actually, you can't rent out software or CDs (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889677)

What legal principle prevents me from loaning out, selling, or renting any (physical) CD/DVD/Book that I have purchased?

17 USC 109. [cornell.edu] Granted, that only prohibits the rental of software and sound recordings, however, people should be aware that "first sale" does not apply to all copyrighted materials equally. Special exemptions like these make it illegal for you to rent out copies of software or CDs, even if you own them (unless you get authorization from the copyright holder).

Do these companies seriously have to buy special versions that they rent out?

I forget how this works exactly, but IIRC rental stores typically buy special "rental" copies that are much more expensive than retail copies.

Re:Can someone explain.. (1)

N7DR (536428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889691)

How this is possible? I don't understand the whole rental world. How does the studio have any control over it? Sure, they own the copyright on the material on the disk but I own the disk. I can sell it, why can't I rent it out to someone?

What legal principle prevents me from loaning out, selling, or renting any (physical) CD/DVD/Book that I have purchased? Do these companies seriously have to buy special versions that they rent out? They have copyright which let's them dictate copying or performance, giving out the physical item I bought doesn't seem to fall in that category.

I don't understand the rental world either, but the case that confounds me is somewhat the flip side of the same question. It's puzzled me frequently that on Netflix DVDs there is sometimes that idiotic blurb at the front that says words to the effect of "this disc is not to be rented out"... and yet that's exactly how I'm watching it. One time I stopped and read the blurb quite carefully, in case I was missing something, but I could see no way that my rental of the DVD from Netflix was allowed by the limitations I was reading. My only conclusion was that the limitations have as much standing in the real world as those crazy "do not steal movies" adverts that they put on the front of some DVDs (perhaps the first sale doctrine somehow nullifies the written limitations?). But I would love to see some closely-reasoned legal argument on the subject, instead of having to guess how Netflix can ignore the limitations.

Re:Can someone explain.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889697)

I am not a lawyer but I believe the doctrine of first sale does not allow the studios to legally enforce this. The way they would make it work is through agreements with the companies that rent, e.g., Blockbuster, Redbox, Netflix. They would entice the companies with the "low-enough pricing" that Reed Hastings refers to.

Bottom line from my perspective is that there will be some small percentage of people who *have* to see a movie bad enough that they will procure the movie instead of wait, but that small percentage will be split into a group that buys legally and a group that pirates. Will the incremental legitimate sales be enough to cover the cost of the discounts the studios will need to buy the rental firms agreement...I doubt it. Good luck with that guys...will be interested in reading about it a year from now once the agreement falls apart.

No problem. (1)

AgTiger (458268) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889411)

I've already waited the delay from the theater to the movie rental stores. What's another month?

I go by the "What's coming out and when" whiteboard in my favorite little movie rental shop anyway. From this perspective, nothing changes.

Another epic fail (2, Insightful)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889415)

Maybe people aren't buying DVDs cause there isn't much worth owning anymore, or they have found, in a recession, it's just more cost-effective to rent it rather than buy it. How many DVDs do you really watch 15+ times that makes buying it worthwhile?

So if this is the case, which seems most likely, their "plan" is going to flop. You can't force people to buy something they don't want. They'll just wait the extra month till the DVD hits the rental market, watching other rentals in the meantime.

I mean seriously, do these idiots really get paid for their "brilliance"? Who are the morons that come up with these ideas, not to mention those that hop on the bandwagon and think it's the best thing since sliced bread? How do they manage to stay employed?

Re:Another epic fail (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889617)

There is loads of stuff on itunes movies i want to see but i'm not paying £10.99 for it. I'd rather wait and rent but they already delay rentals.

failure in progress (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889429)

It seems that they too believe that their media isn't worth seeing more than once. Otherwise, it would be worth buying rather than renting for a night or two and leaving it at that.

"If we can agree on low-enough pricing, (5, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889435)

delayed rental could potentially increase profits for everyone."

Hmm... wait a minute. This sounds familiar.

Oh, yeah, "anti-competitive collusion"

Profit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889443)

They really will never get it.

1 - Produce decent movie
2 - Prevent people from viewing it
3 - Profit???

I never bought DVDs anyway (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889453)

I either saw it at the theater or I saw it on TV later. This is, of course, before I got into foreign films.

Redbox was the first time I actually really started watching things on DVD regularly. I hated Blockbuster, and DVDs cost more than the movie theater for one person, so that was often the cheaper option as well as the instant gratification that netflix didn't have at the time. It's also due to the low cost and convenience. I don't think there is anything that would make me want to own DVDs, like CDs, it's yet another clunky medium that I don't need collecting dust somewhere (I like being mobile in my living situation and that means desiring less shit to move) and the extras I don't ever watch.

If Hollywood wanted more of my money, perhaps they should just offer downloads in an AVI file or something standard. DRM-less. Please don't abuse me with mandatory ads/previews like you did your DVD customers. I'm okay with variable pricing, will pay $5-9. That should reflect the lack of physical media to ship and produce, less middlemen, and be competitive with a movie theater.

However, Redbox still would beat it with price, and honestly, most movies are only worth watching once, if that.

Will anyone care? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889459)

Does anyone actually "line up" to see a movie when it's first released anymore? Especially these days, Hollywood is putting out utter drivel, so does it really matter if you see it today or in four weeks' time?

I think this might backfire on them. People who might be influenced by marketing buzz to see a movie right away, might forget about it by the time it reaches rental. But if they rent it during the new-release period, they might actually decide to buy it later.

Re:Will anyone care? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889679)

The thing is the longer you wait between release of a peice of entertainment media and watching it the more chance someone will reveal the ending to you which kinda spoils the suspense. This is especially true if the peice of entertainment is popular among those you interact with (and barely true at all if noone you interact with cares about it).

First sale doctrine (0)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889465)

Since the first sale doctrine applies to items such as DVDs, why can't blockbuster, netflix, etc. send a few employees to Best Buy, Sprawl Mart, etc. to purchase the DVDs and then they can rent those out? Since it's a product purchased off the shelf exactly like a book, there is nothing which can legally prevent their lending it out, renting it out, or even reselling it, as long as copyright is not violated.

Seriously, I'd like to know what can stop them from doing it. I know if I were an attorney with blockbuster or Netflix, I'd have my lawyers filing suit right now.

Re:First sale doctrine (0, Offtopic)

kimvette (919543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889479)

know if I were an attorney with blockbuster or Netflix /s/attorney/executive/

Sorry. Hit submit too soon. :(

Re:First sale doctrine (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889719)

Afaict they can in the US (I don't think they can here in the UK but i'm not positive) and from what i've read here it sounds like one rental only providers is already doing just that.

The problem with playing hardball like that though is that many rental providers also sell DVDs so they need to keep on good terms with the movie studios or have the entire sales side and possibly a big chunk of the profitability of the rental side wiped out.

Re:First sale doctrine (1)

TakeyMcTaker (963277) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889721)

Netflix and Blockbuster have special contract arrangements with the movie studios. Redbox doesn't, so they aren't hindered by any such contracts and can use First Sale Doctrine. Redbox are also taking studios to task and accusing them of Antitrust violations, for their attempts at market fixing and excluding Redbox illegally. How the RIAA and MPAA have gone this long without anyone taking them to court over being organizations built on intentional Antitrust collusion I'll never know -- it's about darn time!
Insurance, media, and telcos all deserve much more face time with the DOJ.

Re:First sale doctrine (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889791)

They are the same except often the consumer one states you can't rent it or use it for public viewings. While there is no button to signal whether you disagree or not, I doubt Blockbuster would get away with it.

Law of unintended consequences (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889481)

Wouldn't delaying the renting or for-pay downloading of movies after the DVD release result in a huge increase in downloaded torrents by people who would be willing to pay a few bucks for the convenience of watching the movie, but don't feel like shelling out $18.99 for something they will only watch once? Alternatively, if I can't rent a movie, what stops me from forming a private club wherein members buy one of each new movie and share it with all other members? What percentage of DVD profits come from discs purchased by DVD rental companies; is the industry sure they want to screw over these companies and force them out of business?

the napster of dvds is born today (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889507)

And low, the napster of movie content is born with this announcement. Way to go guys, you really thought this one all the way out, huh.

Illegal collusion (1)

motionview (1494423) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889515)

I don't understand how it is not illegal for the studios collude this way. They don't have an anti-trust exemption. If RedBox could just catch one Teamster trashing a kiosk they should be able to RICO the whole rotten bunch.

Right & Wrong (5, Insightful)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889529)

They've almost got it pegged, I've stopped buying DVDs because I can rent them from RedBox. I watch most movies about once and then they sit on my shelf for a very long time before I watch them again, if ever. So, I now only buy movies I think I'll watch multiple times. RedBox has saved me from many bad purchases. RedBox is different than Hollywood Video in that I pay a buck versus 5 bucks. If I rent a movie for $1, if I decide that I later want to buy it, I don't feel like I've overpaid for my watching experience. That is to say, 16/15 is not a bad ratio of overpayment. If I rent a move for $5 and later decide to buy it, I feel like I over spent (20/15 somehow crosses my threshold). So, they have it right that RedBox is cutting into their sales, but only of crappy movies which covers 2/3's (depending on who you are, this number fluctuates wildly).

What they don't understand is that if it takes a month longer to get to RedBox, I'm just going to wait another month before I "preview" the movie. Before RedBox, I would often wait for a film of suspect quality to reach the $5 bin before watching it. Now with RedBox, most movies will reach the $5 bin before I buy it making the ratios more like 6/5.

So the executives at the Film Studios can think a month delay will help their sales, but it's more likely to drive people to torrents. I think in the long run, nothing is going to make them happy. Consumers want the feeling of value, and RedBox offers that. I can rent from them all I want for a buck a pop and not feel guilty about copyright infringement. If they do stupid things to take away my feeling of value, then I'm just going to sense greed and have no compunctions against "piracy".

Here's an idea (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889535)

Yes, Let's piss off the people who are keeping us in business by denying them the right to rent a movie at launch. Sounds like they're looking to shoot themselves in the foot on this one.

Sure, It will work (1)

obijan (1665709) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889541)

Just like it did for the mom and pop rental business, right? Is it me or does it seems that they are making it harder and more painful all the time to legitimately buy/rent content? Rental gets crippled/forbidden/goes out of business. Everything get price increases and more DRM. Are they trying to get more people to pirate, so the RIAA becomes more profitable?

I used to buy DVDs (5, Insightful)

citking (551907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889545)

I used to buy lots and lots of DVDs. I still have a pretty decent collection after selling some and trading others. Then one day I was watching a new DVD ("Se7en", or "Seven") when it skipped. I watched it jostle and jiggle for a few minutes, ejected it, wiped it, same effect. Tried the upstairs DVD player. It was even worse.

The store I bought it from looked at the open shrink wrap and said "Sorry". They wouldn't even let me exchange it because, according to the manager, they'd have to eat the cost of it.

So having some free time I wrote to New Line Cinema, finding an address online for consumer feedback. I asked them if I could obtain another disc from them and I would gladly ship back the old one and pay to ship a new one to me. The canned response I received back basically told me I was SOL and to go buy another DVD at full cost. Have a nice day.

Instead, I now spend the equivalent to one DVD a month on Netflix, my fiance and I can each rent our own movies and return them whenever, and if it skips I have a new one in a day or two. I won't buy a DVD anymore unless I have a very compelling reason to, such as a gift for someone or if it is a movie I will enjoy over and over, such as "The Shawshank Redemption".

Like many, I am tired of paying $19.99 or higher for new DVDs and getting rebuked when the time came to get a replacement disc when another disc became unreadable. So I'll Netflix it, stream it if I am unsure about it, and rip it if I want a copy and it costs too much. I feel a little guilt, but then I remember how the store and New Line screwed me and then I feel OK with it. Bottom line: If you make it difficult for a customer to get something legally that he or she paid for, you better believe that customer will find ways to get around that (and keep getting around it). No one likes to be screwed. I just can't afford to be screwed as much as the studios, distributor, producers, etc. can.

Re:I used to buy DVDs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889765)

That's why I always pay with a credit card. If someone tries to screw me, I have the option of doing a chargeback. I had an Amazon seller try to screw me once. I laughed when he told me that my request for a refund was "denied."

Blockbuster+Netflix != only game in town (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889579)

What are they going to do about all the little independent video stores? Those places often do good business b/c they have a pretty good inventory and cost way less than blockbuster.

If I owned a little store I would tell the studios to kiss my ass after I was able to stop laughing at them.

Re:Blockbuster+Netflix != only game in town (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889787)

You might be laughing at them until they started some frivolous lawsuit against your store because they have an endless supply of money, and you don't. They will win the stupid lawsuit and have you pay for it because they have an endless supply of money, and you don't. Don't laugh too loud, or they'd hear you.

Collusion (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889603)

If all the studios are considering this at that same time, then it sounds like they discussed it amongst each other? If so, isn't that collusion? That is is illegal in the United States, and probably elsewhere.

Any time I hear a business model where depriving customers of something increases sales, I start looking for the anti-competitive practices are happening.

I already wait .. (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889609)

For the movie to go from the big screen to DVD so I can see it on netflix. Another month of waiting is not going to kill me

We've stopped buying DVDs because... (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889619)

...our shelves were starting to get full, and we weren't re-watching them. There's no structural change the motion picture industry can change that will help with that. Instead of trying to figure out how to screw your customers, guys, maybe you should try serving our needs. Why can't I get stuff right away on iTunes? This is like the book industry and their hardcover/paperback model. Basically, they're getting a big hit upfront in hardcover sales at the cost of making people who would have bought the paperback go to the library instead.

When are these guys going to get that the way you make money is by serving your customers?

"The LA Times reports (2, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889621)

that in an effort to push their business model further towards irrelevancy, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would harvest ill will in increasing amounts from consumers for several weeks. Under the plan, new DVD releases would be available on a purchase-only basis for a few hours, after which time filesharing such as Bittorrent and eMule would offer the DVDs for free. 'The studios are wrestling with declines in DVD sales while the rest of the world adapts superior distribution technology,' says PHBasterd, the CEO of Clueless Inc. 'If we can agree on annoying enough artificial tollbooths, $0 could potentially seem far more attractive to consumers.' Three studios have already tried to impose arbitrary attempts to control what they can't control anymore on any forward looking company with a better idea, believing they can stop progress and return to some nostalgic time period when Sonny sang with Cher. Consumers have responded by not caring and doing whatever the hell they want, since IP law was never meant to be used as a club on the general consumer. Meanwhile, media execs snorting coke off hookers' asses have been complaining that there is less coke and less hookers and why don't people understand how vital and important they are to the flow of media and culture."

it doesn't reflect well on you when you've already lost and you won't admit it

game over dude

Typo in summary (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889661)

The LA Times reports that in an effort to push consumers toward pirating more movies, some major film studios are considering a new policy that would block DVDs from being offered for rental until several weeks after going on sale.

Fix'd that for you.

Even if legal, stupid. (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889705)

First of all, there's right of first sale. Once you own it, it's yours and you can rent it, or sell it to someone else. I don't know how the studios think they can keep it out of Red Box or NetFlix's hands. The studios can refuse to sell it to Red Box or NetFlix, but unless they're really stupid they have to sell it to someone, and the miracle of the marketplace takes over and some of those owners will be happy to divert them to a willing buyer.

And it's not as if it were going to force people to buy the DVD. It's just going to result in a delay before most people see it. During that time, there won't be an opportunity for word-of-mouth, which is what really sells products, to build. There won't be a chance for people who aren't already sure they love the movie to rent it, then decide to buy it. There will be several more weeks for them to forget about the review they read when it was in the theatre. Several more weeks for them to be at the supermarket standing in front of the Red Box vending machine because they just feel like a movie tonight, and choosing some other movie.

And just that much incentive for people to tune out of the whole "legal" DVD marketplace, as the stuff that's available cheaply for rent becomes older and less interesting.

If they want to help their business, they should be trying to figure out how to get more product into the hands of consumers, not less.

OMG !!! (1)

speedlaw (878924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889709)

So What ? If I really need to see the movie I go to the theater. There, you have no choice but to put up with 15 minutes of excessively loud-fast action commercials which bombard and oversaturate your senses before a movie some folks worked very hard to make. Watching at home on Blu Ray on the widescreen is a better call than that for most films. I'll wait.

Buying has always been better (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889711)

At the moment you can get most DVDs for the cost or near cost of renting it and you get to keep it. I honestly don't know why you'd want to throw your money away on what is essentially borrowing movie.

Already moved to DVD from VHS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29889713)

About 10 years ago, I started the tedious process of moving all my movies from VHS to DVD, buying the sale and cheap DVD's. As of a few months ago, I no longer have a VHS player, any VHS movies, or any need for them. I have all my favorite movies on DVD, and I don't need to replace them if the tape goes bad (Disney, I'm looking at you and some of your crappy-even-though-it's-in-nonstandard-large-boxes tapes).

I don't see a big enough difference between upconverted DVD's and Blu-Ray to justify re-buying all my movies again. As for new movies (I buy a few a year) I just wait until they go on sale.

I am not a Netflix user, nor have I rented a movie in years for three reasons: Amazon, Borrowing from Friends or Bargain Bins.

Why rent a movie for $3 from Blockbuster, when you can buy the same movie for $5 from Target?

I don't see this working. (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#29889781)

People who want to buy will buy, people who don't will just wait. Ineffective policy is ineffective.
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