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And Hollywood wonders why they can’t make money: Digital only rental to come months before DVD release, cost $30.

I’ve been accused of being too cynical at times. “I don’t give a particular person, company, or business model a chance” — They say. But what else can you call Hollywood’s latest attempt to “save themselves” from the evils of the internet and constantly declining DVD sales. Specifically, the new business model is at first seemingly noble — they want to release digital downloads of movies months in advance of hard copy DVDs. Sounds harmless. It even sounds, dare I say game changing. And then they blow it all to hell by stating that these early releases will cost the end user $30…per viewingfor a rental

WTF?! I wouldn’t pay $30 for most hard copy movies these days. I question the need to rent a movie when the price exceeds $3-4. In digital form, it should be no more than $1-2, tops. But $30 for a one-time view, rental only movie? This idea has already failed. I can understand a niche group of die-hard movie fans/cult like fan club jumping at the opportunity to see a particular movie or series early. Heck, have a bunch of people over and chip in towards the $30. But for individual users?

Part of the reason people still pay to get raped with movie theater prices is because it is…before the DVD movie…and of course because the screen/sound are generally better than most home entertainment setups. At the very least, they’re a lot bigger. (And bigger is better, right?)

It appears that dollar signs and greed have yet again killed another “great idea” from Hollywood/the movie industry. It’s too bad though. Early digital releases were and still are a huge feature your typical movie goer wants. But charging $30 for something that’s exponentially cheaper to copy and distribute as well as being a one-time only gig is the most asinine, slap in the face the movie industry has tried yet.

Then of course you have theaters freaking out as digital creeps in and reeks havoc on their ancient business model as well. Specifically, when hearing of this new video on demand plan, the National Association of Theatre Owners made the following comment:

“Any promotion, advertising, marketing or testing of premium VOD needs to be done within the existing in-home window time frame.”

That “window” by the way is an ridiculous 120-days long. It’s time for that window to shorten — dramatically. Hey, guys. Your theater business model will continue to shrink in the years to come. Instead of whining about it like a bunch of pansies and trying to legislate your way into relevance once again, actually…you know…innovate. How? Don’t ask me. I’m not the president of your organization. That’s for you guys to figure out.

Granted, I don’t think movie theaters will disappear completely for several decades, the overall business will shrink. Get used to it. As digital download/rental/purchase options increase, people are going to forgo driving umpteen miles in the snow to see a movie when it’s so much easier to *click, click, purchase* from the comfort of their warm couch all while snacking on popcorn that doesn’t cost $13/kernel.

Ars Technica

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