Will your customers pay $30 for a VOD title? There’s a movement afoot that seems to think so, and we may find out as early as this summer. The movement aims to bring VOD titles to the “home” window much sooner than the current window scheme allows – as early as 60 days after theatrical release, for a $30 per view premium price.
The premium VOD movement is being led by movie studios, which are looking for ways to generate incremental revenue for their movie titles, as DVD and box office receipts are slowing. Video service providers are expressing some interest as well because the new premium window would get them premium content well ahead of the rising OTT competitive threat posed by companies like Netflix and Amazon. Although it remains to be seen whether consumers will be willing to pay such a premium for a title they could get a month or two later for a fraction of the premium VOD $30 price tag. Another idea to make the $30 fee more palatable is to bundle the DVD with it.
Time Warner and Disney are on record as in favor of the new approach. According to the L.A. Times, DirecTV is furthest along in talks to offer premium VOD. Time Warner Cable and Comcast are also actively discussing the idea. No word on what the revenue split between studio and service provider for the proposed $30 fee might be. If history is any judge, don’t expect much.
Needless to say, theater owners aren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect. They say premium VOD will cut into their profits and they’ve even gone so far as to suggest they may boycott movie titles which will be slotted in the premium VOD window.
A studio trade group, Digital Entertainment Group is said to be working on a branding and marketing campaign for premium VOD, which by most accounts may launch as early as summer 2011 – right in time for the summer blockbuster season. Stay tuned.