Traditionally, the gap between a movie launching in theaters, and finding its way to home sales, is around three months. That gap can extend depending on how popular a movie is in theaters.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are currently in talks with companies like Apple and Comcast to try and figure out a beneficial strategy to launching movies in the home, what are being called “premium video on demand” or PVOD, a lot closer to the film’s initial theater launch. So, instead of waiting months to see a movie at home, this would have a film being made available just a couple of weeks later.
According to the report, a film that is made available to rent in home 17 days after its initial theatrical debut would cost $50. A PVOD rental that sees a film released in home four to six weeks later would allegedly cost $30. In both of those instances, that’s quite a bit more than a standard movie ticket (for now), and this is for a rental. Customers wouldn’t own the film, even with that premium sticker price.
The report indicates that these movie studios are looking to clinch this deal soon, and Apple’s part in the process, where iTunes would distribute the PVOD films, could start sometime early next year.
DVD sales continue to decline, and this is one strategy where companies feel like they can recoup some of that money. And this is not the first time this report has seen the light of day, either. Back in December of last year a similar idea surfaced, and this seems to be a continuation of those talks. If that is any indicator, it would appear studios and distributors are starting to get closer to finalizing a deal.
It’s also worth noting that there isn’t any specific talk about format here, either. For $50 it’s possible a film is only available in standard definition (SD), even though it’s hopefully more likely that it would be at least available in high definition (HD). The likelihood that it would be available in 4K ultra high definition (UHD)/High Dynamic Range (HDR) seems thin. Of course, if this idea does take off, and studios see a way to charge more money, 4K HDR PVOD rentals could see a significant price hike.
So, would you pay $50 to see a film just a couple of weeks after its theatrical debut?