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Analyst: Why Wait 14 Weeks for ‘Prometheus’ on Digital HD?

19 Sep, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel



While 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Sept. 18 launch of Digital HD underscores the studio’s push to drive high-margin digital sellthrough, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield wonders why consumers must wait 14 weeks to buy a digital copy of Prometheus, which made 99% of its box office revenue in the first six weeks of its theatrical release.

Fox is offering Prometheus — which is also the studio’s first UltraViolet release available on Oct. 9 — for $14.99 now, the price point it has attached to about 600 movies currently available on Digital HD, including Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Watch and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. The movies can be accessed through Amazon, CinemaNow, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox Live and YouTube.

Greenfield argues Fox could have piggybacked retail marketing efforts for the film on the theatrical release had it chosen to street the sci-fi thriller no more than eight weeks after its June 8 theatrical bow. He said Prometheus, which generated $126.4 million at the domestic box office ($386.6 million globally), has sold less than $2 million in tickets since July 13 — essentially putting the title out of sight, out of mind of the consumer for eight weeks. 

“We believe Digital HD sales (early EST) would be far more powerful six to eight weeks post-theatrical versus waiting over three months, particularly as it would draft off the original marketing for the theatrical release,” Greenfield wrote in Sept. 19 blog post.

Now, the analyst says, the studio has to restart marketing efforts to make consumers aware of the film. The analyst believes that greater spacing between digital HD and traditional DVD, VOD or iVOD would increase the chances a consumer might buy early release digital movies versus waiting for the less expensive rental or VOD copy.

Greenfield also questions why Fox makes no mention of UltraViolet in the Prometheus trailer for Digital HD, opting instead to highlight the online services where the film can be found.

“Rather than wait for complete interoperability across all [UltraViolet] streaming sites, Fox is basically saying it’s time to pull the price and windowing levers and worry less about interoperability,” Greenfield wrote.


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