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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Shorter Theatrical-to-Video Windows Is a Good Trend for Video Retailers and Studios, But Not for Theater Owners

17 Jul, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

More and more people are noticing that theatrical-to-video windows are getting a little shorter. Just today, a high-ranking executive with a leading independent studio noted that five months is now the rule; it used to be six months.

This is certainly a good trend for video retailers, because movies are a little fresher in the minds of consumers when they make their video debuts.

It also makes sense for the studios, because awareness levels are higher -- public interest doesn't need to be rekindled, it just needs a breath or two of fresh air.

The losers in this equation, conventional wisdom would hold, are the movie theater owners, who want to hang onto their exclusive screening rights for as long as they can. But theater owners, like video retailers, are having to deal with shorter and shorter legs, so I imagine they're not squawking as loudly as they would have, say, a decade ago, before the huge buildup in screens brought a taste of copy depth to the theatrical industry.

It just goes to show what a wacky business we're in. Consider this: On the theatrical side, business was good, so we saw the number of screens multiply like rabbits until movie legs evaporated and all of a sudden business wasn't so good anymore and now we're seeing loads of bankruptcies and theater-shutterings.

Meanwhile, on the home video side, business was going downhill so we saw the studios institute copy depth in an attempt to give more customers what they want until video legs evaporated and all of a sudden business wasn't so good anymore and now we're seeing big chains go bankrupt (Video City, Video Update) and independent video stores going out of business.

Go figure.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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