Sometimes it seems that Netflix just can’t catch a break. While the movie industry has long had a love-hate relationship with the video rental industry, Netflix seems to get all the hate and none of the love. Ever since the Netflix became popular a few years ago – and especially since they launched their streaming service – they’ve been the entertainment industry’s red-headed (red-enveloped?) step-child. The movie companies have been doing everything in their power to keep Netflix down, because they believe (apparently) that people who can’t rent or stream movies legally will actually go out and buy the DVD or Blu-ray instead.
So the entertainment companies have done everything they can to try and keep rented copies of their movies out of customers’ hands. Back in January HBO stopped offering Netflix a discount on DVDs and Warner Brothers extended the delay between a movie’s in-store availability and its availability on Netflix to 56 days. RedBox, however, was having none of that and started buying their movies from retailers, prompting Universal to make a deal to keep the 28-day window in place.
Now, according to Home Media Magazine, Disney is getting in on the act. The company has announced that they would institute their own 28-day window for select titles. That means that if you want to get John Carter, which came out out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, you’ll have to either buy it, or wait 28 days until it comes to Netflix (though RedBox apparently intends to get it from retailers, making it available on June 12).
Of course, the big question is whether this sort of windowing actually does anybody any good. Though the studios occasionally try to argue that it’s really better for the consumer, it’s hard to imagine that anyone actually believes that. The real goal, of course, is to pad the studios’ bottom line. Again, they believe that rental delays encourages consumers to purchase the movie, though it’s not clear whether actual sales data backs that up. One thing is certain, however: in an age where the average consumer is increasingly technologically savvy, more and more people are going to be find themselves in the kind of situation depicted in the now-famous Game of Thrones Oatmeal comic.
The sooner the studios figure that out, the better off the consumers will be.