Hollywood studios Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are in talks with the major US MSOs to offer films for as much as $30 (€22.50) per showing soon after they run in cinemas, reports Bloomberg.
The studios are talking with In Demand, a partnership of Cox Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., Bob Benya, chief executive officer of In Demand, said in an interview. Disney is also discussing streaming films on internet connected devices such as the Microsoft Xbox console and the Sony PlayStation 3, the report said.
Such a ‘premium VOD service’ would be Hollywood’s answer to a declining DVD market, a very slow starting Blu-ray market and an increasing demand from customers for early access to block buster titles. At the moment, the earliest access cable customers get to new Hollywood titles are those that are made available on a Day & Date basis on the VOD service – at the same time as the DVD and Blu-ray release.
At the moment, the demand for early releases is mainly filled by pirate websites, who make new movies available as soon as they appear in cinemas – and sometimes even before the theatrical release. Until now, the movie industry has set high hopes on Blu-ray discs becoming the next standard for premium products and pricing, but even at the launch of the product, it was doubtful if the format would be successful. It is telling that Microsoft now has said it will not put a Blu-ray player in its XBox 360 consoles.