Move over movie theaters, it is time for the consumer to rule the day when it comes to the big screen. At least that is the message being sent by one of the biggest studios out there — Warner Bros.
Currently, movie theaters hold a 90-day exclusivity agreement with the distributors and studios. In today’s digital world, that time period is way too long for the studios liking. Yet, this is a song and dance we’ve all heard before and eventually, the theaters have won out.
This time around, things seem more promising for the consumer, according to CEO Kevin Tsujihara:
“We’re having very constructive conversations with the exhibitors for the first time than we’ve had in a long time,” Mr. Tsujihara said, adding it was imperative to offer consumers more choices regardless of whether the studios reach a deal with theaters. “We’re going to do it, and we’re very focused on it.”
So, how do the studios placate the theaters and allow for easier and quicker access at home? It appears there is a working model of allowing earlier access, but at a premium price. For those unwilling to fork over $100 for their family of four to go to the theater, studios are likely to offer a much better option even if it is over the normal retail price.
It seems like that could be a compromise the theaters are willing to work with today:
While Cinemark has no interest in seeing movies released for theatrical and home viewing at the same time, “We’ll certainly talk with our studio partners about potential premium video-on-demand and determine what would be advantageous to both them and us,” Zoradi said on a call with analysts.
The never-ending fight between the exclusive rights for movie theaters and the studios fighting piracy continues on. Who will win? We’re guessing the consumer this time around, as they seem to be holding movie theaters over a barrel already and what could be worse than seemingly being anti-consumer at this point?
Good luck in figuring out this bitter battle. It’s sure to be fun to watch from the sideline.