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Netflix Subs Debate 28-Day Window

7 Feb, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

When it comes to waiting 28 days to watch new release movies on disc, Netflix subscribers appear to be indifferent — unlike Redbox users.

Best Buy Co., in its Sunday, Feb. 6 newspaper circular, joined Blockbuster, cable and satellite TV operators aggressively promoting new release movies “not available to rent on Netflix or Redbox,” such as the Feb. 8 release Life as We Know It from Warner Home Video.

“Own it at Best Buy” read the consumer electronics retailer's ad, which underscored the fact Netflix wouldn’t have the title until March 8. Best Buy is selling Life on DVD for $13.99, on Blu-ray Disc for $19.99 and a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo for $24.99.

In comments on HackingNetflix.com, a site devoted to all things relevant to the Los Gatos, Calif.-based online disc rental pioneer, subscribers to the service said the embargo imposed on new releases from Warner, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment did little to dissuade their movie consumption habits.

“Anyone that has waited this long to see that movie won't have an issue with waiting another 28 days to get it from Netflix,” wrote Randy A. “[Eleven dollars] a month for Netflix, $30 for a single Blu-ray that I will likely only watch once or twice over my lifetime. Which should I pick?”

Several subscribers said they typically rent a movie before deciding whether to purchase it. One poster said he thought the delay might push him to purchase Inception (also Warner), but after adding it to his rental queue, he forgot about it.

Redbox, in recent fiscal results, said the 28-day delay negatively impacted revenue, in addition to overstocking Blu-ray titles. Analysts contend kiosk rentals cater to consumers coveting $1-per-day new releases while Netflix promotes catalog titles and streaming.

Subscriber Sandra Bellezza wrote that she prefers renting (almost on a daily basis) from Netflix and will re-rent a title if she really likes it.

“I can honestly say the 28-day delay hasn't swayed my purchasing habits of movies, simply because Netflix changed that [habit] 10 years ago for me,” Bellezza wrote.


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