Goodbye Sister Disc
Hollywood is finally embracing day-and-date film releases.
Yesterday, Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said that Warner Bros. plans to experiment with VOD releases day-and-date with DVD later this year. And now this morning, Apple (AAPL) announced that a number of major and independent movie studios have agreed to make their films available on iTunes day-and-date with DVD–$9.99 for library title purchases and $14.99 for new release purchases. Among the studios participating in the deal: 20th Century Fox (NWS), Walt Disney Studios (DIS), Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures (VIA), Universal Studios Home Entertainment (GE), Sony Pictures Entertainment (SNE), Lionsgate (LGF), Image Entertainment (DISK) and First Look Studios (FRST.PK).
An impressive lineup and one that clearly heralds a shift in the movie industry’s view of digital distribution. A shift in iTunes movie purchases as well–upward. The removal of Hollywood’s typical 30-day lead time on DVD releases will no doubt boost new-release sales on iTunes, assuming customers don’t mind paying $14.99 for films that lack the extra features and picture quality of their DVD counterparts. It will boost movie studio revenues as well. With no manufacturing and reproduction costs to speak of, margins from day-and-date download releases are presumably quite high.
So much for that hard-fought DVD format war …