Several studios are looking into releasing films for home viewing, bypassing the three to four month time during which a film plays exclusively in theaters. Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. were the studios named in a Bloomberg article which priced a one-time home viewing somewhere between $20 and $30 a pop.
The studios named are apparently in talks with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox to release new films via their In Demand service which would stream the films to home televisions. The $30 does make sense, considering tickets for a group of 4 to go the movies costs roughly $40.
Bloomberg reported Disney is also in talks to stream newly released titles to the Sony Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Last year, Sony tested a viewing of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” for $24.95.
Resistance to opening the “pay window” does not come from the studios who traditionally have kept cable companies and other video-on-demand providers from impeding upon DVD and Blu-ray sales, but rather, the theater chains.
Practically no-one would go on record about this new “product” and most of the Bloomberg sources were unnamed. But studios have been scrambling for a way to sell more product and this may be a viable option.
One might pose this question though. If Blu-ray Disc is supposed to be the ultimate home viewing experience for movies, why sell viewers a sub-par stream of a new film when home theaters are capable of so much more? Sell a Blu-ray Disc at MSRP (which no-one pays anyway) and let home viewers get 1080p video and 7.1 channel audio day of theater release.