In a bid to stave off bankruptcy
, Blockbuster has reached a deal
with Warner Bros. that could change the
way consumers rent movies. Under the agreement, Blockbuster will now
offer new releases the day they go on sale. That's 28 days before competitors
Netflix and Redbox offer
them. It also extends to Blockbuster's mail delivery and online video
streaming rentals. What effect will it have on the movie rental business
at large? Here's what technology writers think:
Will Massively Confuse the Public, writes Mike Masnick at Tech Dirt: "Your average movie
renter isn't paying attention to the silly games that Warner execs are
playing, and all they want to know is how come they can't rent the
latest release. If Warner somehow convinced all players not to rent
until a certain date, then that would effectively have just shifted the
release date further back (a dumb move in an age when windows are
shrinking... but that's Hollywood for you). However, by having the movie
available for rental in some places, but not others, it's now setting
itself up for mass customer confusion, where people will hear that a
movie is available, but then get pissed off that it's not available in
their preferred rental system."
Piracy, writes MG Siegler at TechCrunch: "Short term,
this may prop up Blockbuster a bit, and may even slightly boost DVD
sales. But long term, money-grabbing shenanigans like this that screw
consumers will only lead to one thing: piracy."
- Props Up
an Aging Dinosaur, adds MG Siegler: "The problem with all of
this is that it won’t work. People are not going to start buying DVDs
like they were a decade ago, again. The window has closed. We’re moving
to a time of distribution over the Internet, but rather than get out in
front of that, Warner is inexplicably propping up dinosaurs like
- ...But May Boost DVD Sales a Smidgeon, notes Jacqui Cheng at Ars Technica. This is perhaps the principle upside to the deal. "The stores are also known for selling DVDs, so perhaps Warner enjoys this extra sales boost, no matter how tiny."
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