• Blockbuster Hangs In with New Fox, Sony and Warner Deals

    Netflix wasn't the only distributor modifying how it does business with Hollywood studios this week; Blockbuster also unveiled new deals with Fox, Sony and Warner, giving it "day-and-date" availability of these studios' films for store and mail rental (note, not for its on demand streaming service). Blockbuster also got "enhanced payment terms" from the studios in exchange for giving them a first lien on Blockbuster's Canadian assets (which would imply that if Blockbuster files for bankruptcy, the studios could end up owning/operating a slew of Canadian stores). Seems like steep terms for Blockbuster to hang in there.

    As I wrote a few weeks ago in "The Battle Over Movie Rentals is Intensifying," there are multiple distributors jockeying to be the consumer's preferred movie source. That means consumers need to figure out, on a title by title basis what works best for them.

    For example, I'm a Netflix subscriber and let's say I want to watch the recently released "Sherlock Holmes" DVD. Netflix doesn't get it until April 27th per its 28-day window with Warner Bros. But when I check online, a local Blockbuster store I've never been to shows that it's in stock (though I'm a little skeptical). Do I want to drive down there to find out? Meanwhile, Comcast is offering it on-demand. But do I want to pay $4.99 for it when I'm already paying a monthly Netflix subscription? Alternatively, there's iTunes and Amazon VOD. But then I need to either watch on my computer or on the TV that's hooked to the Roku or temporarily connect my laptop to the TV. See what I mean about the choices facing consumers?

    (Note - online movie distribution is among the topics we'll cover at the next VideoSchmooze on April 26th. Early bird discounted tickets available for just one more week!)

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