Wait a second, what’s this? I must not be reading this correctly. An executive for a major Hollywood studio is actually making sense and speaking logically when talking about DVD rental windows and the web? This is a joke, right? A bargaining tactic?
If I’m correctly reading what Paramount Home Entertainment President Dennis Maguire told the LA Times, I don’t think so.
After rival studios Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, and 20th Century Fox all signed deals with both Netflix and Redbox to put a 28-day window on new DVD releases before they could be available for rent, Paramount is going the other way. They have signed a deal with Redbox to make the films available to rent same day they come out for purchase — you know, the way things have always been done. Why is Paramount taking such an old school stance? Because they actually did some tests and realized these stupid windows will do nothing to help them sell more DVDs. Imagine that.
And it’s not just that — giving new releases to services like Redbox have actually helped Paramount make more money. Here’s the two key quotes from Maguire:
“There hasn’t been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox, and Redbox was allowing us to expand our business and ultimately make more money.”
“Those people who want to rent are going to figure out ways to rent, and us restricting them from renting isn’t going to turn it into a purchase.”
Of course, I’ve been saying both of those things for months after I first heard about the idiotic 28-day window. But a few of the Hollywood studios reached out to essentially say that I was wrong. Or to try and explain their rationale by suggesting this wasn’t just about trying to regain the DVD sales figures they’re bleeding. Now I can just direct them to Paramount which actually did a test (for almost a year), and came to the same conclusion.
While Maguire doesn’t actually say the word “piracy,” we all know what he means by: “Those people who want to rent are going to figure out ways to rent.” At least part of that is addressing the “rent for free” crowd, as in, steal.
Further, the idea that restricting movie rentals for 28 days would lead to more sales (what this is really all about) is asinine. I’ll repeat my stance: the vast majority of people haven’t stopped buying DVDs because you can rent them — they’ve stopped buying them because most are simply not worth owning. The new methods of distribution have simply highlighted that fact. But it’s too late to put the cat back in the bag now.
Paramount, rather than attempting to drive backwards to take miles off the odometer, is actually thinking ahead. Why not strike a deal with Redbox that they will actually make them some money off of from new release films, rather than praying you can force people to start buying DVDs again? Ingenious.
Nice work, Paramount.
[image: Paramount Pictures]
Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSTR), offers new-release DVD, Blu-ray Disc™ and video-game rentals through its network of conveniently located, self-service kiosks. Redbox has rented more than 2 billion discs and is available at approximately 38,500 kiosks across 31,500 locations nationwide, including leading grocery, drug and convenience stores, and select Walgreens, Walmart and McDonald’s locations in some markets. For more information, visit redbox.com.