In yet another motion that proves that media companies are completely out of touch with their customers, movie studio Warner Brothers is going to embargo DVD-by-mail outfit Netflix and DVD renting kiosk Redbox from renting new movies to customers for 28 days. This embargo is similar to the 30-day window imposed last week by Twentieth Century Fox, and the 45 day window imposed last year by Universal.
Apparently the movie studios are worried about rentals undercutting the much more profitable DVD sale business. While Mitch Lowe, CEO of Redbox, stated in an interview with the LA Times that he was convinced that Redbox has no effect on DVD sales, our bet “" backed up by nothing more than anecdotal evidence “" is that people who rent movies through Netflix and Redbox more than likely purchase more DVDs than others who don’t, in much the similar way that people who illegally download music purchase the most songs in the iTunes store and from Amazon MP3.
In any case, Redbox isn’t taking this laying down. The company is in the midst of a legal battle with Universal and filed suit against Fox last week. Should the trend continue, Warner Brothers is probably going to get served with a lawsuit of its own soon as well.
We should also mention that not every studio is as thick headed as the aforementioned; Walt Disney and Paramount haven’t really taken a stand on the issue and so are still supplying their movies. Moreover, Lions Gate and Sony have signed deals with Redbox worth hundreds of millions of dollars guaranteeing the availability of their movies on time.
One day, we hope that media companies will realize that consumers want their paid movies and music on demand and under our control. With how little the studios have trudged forward technologically at this point, it’s no surprise that streaming movie catalogues are so crippled, but we still find it unfathomable that our physical DVD rental catalogues should suffer the same fate.