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leonardodicrapio

these rental agreements are so dumb. blockbuster is probably paying ifc for this exclusive.

blockbuster can't stop netflix from renting any of these titles. even if ifc isn't selling any of their movies at any retail channels (including blockbuster stores), netflix employees could rent any ifc movie (which they would then own after a 2-day rental period plus 7-day grace period) -- netflix could then legalling rent the movies themselves under the first-sale doctrine (although i doubt they would wait 9 days to rent it out).

laimis

wow, I cannot believe this just happened. By going exclusive with Blockbuster you are infringing other distributors and hurting the filmmakers. So sad to see that the money got to them. "Independent" my A$$.

DoubleB

The first exclusive deal with the Weinstein Company still does not make sense to me. How was Netflix able to put the movies on instant viewing (don't think any of them are still there, but they were for quite some time). I really would like to see the details of what these deals entail, I wonder if the first only included physical distribution.

Firstlawofnature

"During this period no title will be available on a retail basis in any format."

Does this mean not for sale during exclusive window also? That would be a bit different from other deals. No biggie either way.

....

I think Netflix was able to put those exclusives online because they are covered under different rights. I think Blockbuster has the exclusives for the discs where as the digital rights are a little different, so Netflix could put it on their website.

erik

So it sounds like Blockbuster basically just gets these movies 60 days early.

Old Timer Too

"...sounds like Blockbuster basically just gets these movies 60 days early."

That's the deal. BB gets the titles sixty days before they are released via any other distribution channel, including sales.

While there is some thought that this might be bad for consumers, I'm not sure I agree. For one thing, even a single channel availability is a form of advertising in a presales window, which gives potential purchasers a view of a title they might not otherwise be able to see. Then, if they like the title, they are more likely to make the purchase.

This, by the way, is a practice that has been going on at Baen Books (SF&Fant publisher). Baen will place new releases on their web site for a limited period of time. Normally, one would think that the practice would bite into sales, since it is relatively easy to download and print a copy of a book (no special software required!). The result has been the opposite: increased sales of the finished product.

So IFC's deal with BB may give them a long look at another way to market product. Who knows? It just might work.

If it does, then I would not be surprised to see the studios buy into this program on a broad basis - strike "exclusive" deals that includes the sales window, and help generate business. A great way to advertise for free while generating some revenue.

--------

And now for something different:

"...[BB] is probably paying ifc for this exclusive."

Of course they are. Otherwise, there would be no incentive for the studio to strike the deal.

"...can't stop netflix from renting any of these titles."

I'm not sure what you've been smoking, but if NF cannot obtain the title, then they aren't going to be renting it, are they? The sixty-day window is the deal, meaning that no one can purchase (much less rent) a title during that period from any other source.

"...[NF] employees could rent any ifc movie (which they would then own after a 2-day rental period plus 7-day grace period) -- netflix could then legalling rent the movies themselves under the first-sale doctrine..."

Of course, NF employees could rent and repackage, but I'm not so sure they'd be wise doing that: 1 - it violates their own rental agreement with BB; 2 - it violates the provisions of film's license. NF could easily find themselves in a very serious and not very defensible court case.

And talk about a quick way to get your employment terminated. It is called Ethics and today's employers are very sensitive to violating any published standards.

The argument is full of holes. You have to be thinking thousands of NF employees renting all over the country in order for something like that to work. Second, you are talking about full retail plus rental to obtain the title. Third, how many NF employees would participate, especially if it meant they would be violating their own rental agreements with BB? Fourth, NF isn't doing the renting and purchasing. They might as well get every customer to do it for them and where would that get them? What mechanism (on the books) would NF use to accomplish that little feat and would it be worth it to overcome the BB exclusive?

The answer: the comments were posted by a NF Troll.

The BB-Weinstein deal worked only so long as people didn't realize the "exclusive" was only for a limited amount of extra material, most of which was a waste of time. Once people recognized that, they got their films from whomever offered them and, in some cases, probably preferred the non-exclusive packaging (i.e., Planet Terror).

Ken

Old Timer,

If Netflix can purchase the title, they can rent it.

For starters, blockbuster will most likely be offering the titles for sale. It would be stupid for them to secure an exlusive arrangement then not take advantage of the retail end. Especially when you consider that they are pushing retail sales of dvds over rentals these days.

Secondly, how does renting a movie and not returning it violate the terms of the blockbuster membership? They aren't charging late fees, they are selling you the dvd if you keep it beyond a certain point. Realistically, it doesn't make sense for netflix to send out of bunch of their employees as leonardo said but as long as they can get their hands on a legally purchased copy, they can rent it.

The deal doesn't prevent other companies from renting the title, it just makes sure that blockuster gets a cut from the retail sale. They could probably put certain limitations in place like one retail copy per customer to make it more difficult for competitors to purchase large quantities but they won't be the only place you can rent these titles.

Firstlawofnature

This deal won't fly with major studios. Don't think anyone will push rentals over sales and even if they did want to WMT would push back big time.

Only a small studio w/ small movies could maximize revenue by curtailing sell through.

lame.

david

this is odd since blockbuster not carrying NC-17 films has done damage to independent films over the years. every special they run on IFC about censorship features john waters movie pink flamingos, yet netflix carries it and blockbuster does not.

i think the best part of this will be the independent films section in blockbuster stores, perhaps exposing more people to them. however it's likely just a side-effect of IFC going more mainstream, looking to get more money out of the studio "independent" films thread, and i don't think a display is going to get the average person to put down their copy of scary movie 12 for stranger than paradise.

BoB

"Exclusives like this, while strategic for companies and distributors, only hurt the consumers who will have to subscribe to multiple services to have access to exclusive content."

...or like me that WON'T subscribe to them at all! Screw 'em. I don't need to watch their stuff and I WILL NOT subscribe to multiple providers just because they think "Exclusive" means I will!

Corey3rd

Weinstein and IFC need these deals because a majority of their titles don't do that much action. Getting Blockbuster to boost their purchase based on the exclusive deal gets them more upfront money for their films - especially all those dogs that Weinstein unloads.

hueristix

I think these exclusive deals hurt us consumers. With Red Envelope, it is different because Netflix buys the distribution rights for unknown films, yet still the exclusivity of content is terrible.

Imagine if 50% of studios were exclusive to Netflix and the other 50% exclusive to blockbuster? That would be teh suck. So why do it on a smaller scale?

Brian

OK, some food for thought --

1 - Remember when movies were priced for rental? A VHS movie could run you $70-$100. Perhaps this is a bit of a return to that era. Rent the heck out of it for 60 days, than market it for retail.
2 - I remember reading something that studios really were taking a hit on DVDs at retail. Not sure of all the issues here, but I do remember something about the studios wanting to curtail seeing DVDs being so cheaply priced.
3 - I also remember reading about the studios doing something of a tiered release of DVDs. The first release would be movie only, aimed at rental markets and those just wanting to pay $20 for the movie only (I also remember the pricing would go up for the first release). Later releases would add the goodies.
4 - One of the reasons that DVDs are having trouble on release at retail is that studios have been releasing movies 2, 3 or 4 times over the span of a year or two. Basically, I think it boils down to consumers wanting to wait for the version they want.
5 - I think this exclusive thing might not be a bad deal in that studios might be able to breathe more life into some films. It is a great deal in that regard for IFC, since most of their stuff does not see the light of day at your local multiplex. It could be great for movies that flat out bomb in the theater, enabling studios to get a per view/per rental revenue stream, for a movie that many may not buy.
6 - Lastly, what might this mean for Comcast's IFC in Theaters deal? Comcast has rotating movies of the IFC films that are in theaters. Could this be a similar deal, but with DVD distribution instead?

Old Timer Too

Ken - I'm not saying that NF can't rent the film or purchase it from BB during the sixty days prior to general release. My question is why would they pay full retail, because we both know that BB will not wholesale out the titles and even if you are a member, the best you get is maybe 10% discount from retail.

Second point, which you may have missed. The sixty days covers retail, as well. In other words, BB has a 60-day exclusive window when the film is not available from any other source - purchase (at retail or wholesale) included.

Brian - You've brought up a number of interesting points. Until Warner released the Michael Keaton Batman, low prices for VHS films were almost completely unheard of. For a number of years following, it wasn't unusual to see new titles priced out at $60 or more.

You are absolutely "right on" about low prices for DVDs. I've mentioned the Wal-Mart special. All the stores in our area and between here and where our kids live in Indiana and downstate Illinois have bins full of good titles - priced at $5 / $5.50 / or 2 for $11 (I've seen all three prices over the past year). These bins are constantly being restocked at have included films that I have in my collection for which I paid intro rates of about $15 during the first week. These are the same titles in the same packaging now selling for $5.50 or less.

But I also question the studios "taking a hit" at retail. DVD sales can amount to a significant part of the income from a hit title. It often means lower-tier (or poorly marketed/released) films can make a profit (Somewhere in Time comes to mind). DVD sales can also mean that there is a loyal fan base that might want to see another film or sequel. And finally, there are the recent direct to DVD releases of titles that otherwise might do very well in the theaters - Stargate SG-1, for instance and their new movie release on DVD.

Yeah, we may easily start to see tier pricing for most titles (Disney seems to be the exception, mostly because they like to rerelease titles every new generation). Paramount was just as bad with the Star Trek franchise until it had finally run out of steam and they got the film prices down.

Finally, I was unaware of the Comcast IFC deal. You now have to wonder what the impact will be, or if Comcast will still rotate the titles while they are still in theaters.

On to the point Corey3rd made - neither Weinstein or IFC had good exposure anywhere until BB started making a big deal out of their "exclusive" deal. It caused me to start giving a number of Weinstein titles a serious look, which otherwise would have been ignored.

Now the question about certain IFC titles and their rating comes up. With the change at the helm, I have to think that Keyes and company will rethink their so-called "family" policy of not carrying NC-17 films. A significant number of the titles they do carry are so close to porn that the RR and MM would make a big stink if they recognized what was going on. There would certainly be a major hassle in the BB states over some of those titles. I've watched both NC-17 and the garbage soft-core junk and find the NC-17 titles to be many, many times better in terms of content, story, and especially acting. So, that one is on the back burner for now. (RR=Righteous Right; MM=Moral majority; BB=Bible Belt or Bible Banger)

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this so much crap. They should have not cornered the market like this.

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