Netflix’s latest agreement with Warner Bros. to wait 28-days before renting out new releases after they hit store shelves incited grumblings among movie lovers this week. They could especially lose out if the deal becomes the template for other production houses. The beef is that it holds cinemaphiles hostage longer in an effort to get them to shell out more to buy, for example, Avatar the day it’s out instead of waiting for it to be mailed to them as part of their monthly membership (most sell-through happens in the first four weeks of a film’s release). On Warner’s part, it’s a move to save tanking DVD sales.
Netflix, meanwhile, is focused on providing streaming films–on Thursday at CES, the company unveiled streaming capability in more major electronics, including Blu-rays and TVs from Sanyo, Sharp, and Toshiba (not to mention Netgear’s new laptop-TV wireless connector). Though the new Warner partnership holds up spankin’ new releases, it gives Netflix a new lease on a huge catalog of other streaming films.
Call it a new era of cooperation by a company whose play to undercut the box office with their own production studio failed back in 2008. Or call it one more reason for movie lovers to flock to Redbox, whose DVD kiosks could become the quickest source for new releases.