Warner Brothers Doubles Netflix DVD Window


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When it rains it pours for Netflix, apparently. Yesterday we brought you news that HBO would stop selling bulk DVDs of its programming to Netflix at a discount. Now, apparently, Warner Brothers has reached a new agreement with Netflix, Redbox, and Blockbuster that doubles the amount of time the two companies have to wait before they can buy Warner Brothers’s new releases. Now Netflix and Redbox customers will have to wait 56 days - nearly two months - before they can check out Warner Brothers’s new content.

The current 28-day new release window came about in June of 2010, as the result of an agreement whereby Netflix accepted the gap between home video release and rental availability in exchange for rights to stream more of the studios’ content. This time around, Warner Brothers has increased the window without giving anything at all back.

This latest move against Netflix, Redbox, and Blockbuster follows a similar move against Blockbuster in October. Without asking permission first, Blockbuster made several new releases from Warner Brothers available for rent on the same day that they were available for sale. Warner Brothers retaliated by applying Netflix’s 28-day gap to Blockbuster.

As DVD sales and theater attendance have dropped in recent years, Hollywood’s increasing panic has driven the search for a scapegoat. Since the answer could not possibly have anything to do with increasing ticket and DVD prices and decreasing movie quality, the industry’s eye has fallen on Netflix (and the movie rental industry in general), and on piracy. As they combat the latter with legislation, they have been using every means at their disposal to make life as difficult for Netflix as possible, apparently believing that people who cannot rent a movie will simply go buy it instead. This is just the most recent of the entertainment industry’s efforts to resist the march of technological progress. Nearly every advance in entertainment technology - from the radio in the 1920s to VCRs and casette tapes in the ‘70s and ‘80s - has supposedly heralded the collapse of the entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, we can probably expect the entertainment industry to continue its staunch opposition to the forward march of technology. Which means that Netflix, Hulu, Redbox, Bitttorrent, and pretty much any means of accessing content that doesn’t line Hollywood’s pockets will continue to be the bad guy for the foreseeable future.

What do you think of Warner Brothers’s decision to increase the release window? Sound off in the comments.

[Source: All Things D]