Yes it’s CES time for just about every major newspaper and tech-journal, but one announcement of importance this week hasn’t come from there, but directly from Warner Bros., which has announced it’s no longer going to immediately provide new releases to Netflix on their rental-ready street date. Instead, Warners is hoping to set a trend for other studios and content producers to follow by creating a sell-through only window for these new disc releases.
This means that Netflix subscribers will have to wait about four weeks for a new release to be available through the popular rental and streaming service. As other rental services, such as Redbox, already face such retail windows, this probably won’t be too big of a deal for Netflix as a company, but it might raise the hackles of some subscribers. [ More after the break ]
Yet, Netflix, using their enormous clout and ginormous subscriber base, only agreed to the 28-day window by pushing Warners to let them have more access to Warner’s library of titles for their streaming service, as well as making for a better financial arrangement for all involved. Netflix, mostly a rental warehouse of catalog titles, will also have the ability to increase their inventory of new releases once those titles have passed the 28-day window.
This might hurt Redbox and other services a bit, as they are more dependent on new and recent releases rather than back-catalog fare. Nevertheless, press releases today make it sound like a win-win for everyone and not just Netflix and Warners. By offering a longer sell-through window, Warner Bros. makes official their new approach regarding rental businesses… which is vitally important to their bottom-line as DVD sales continue to plummet and Blu-ray remains sluggish in the face of rental and video-on-demand services that also offer HD quality content.