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Fox Closing U.K. Rental Window

15 Jan, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

Fox Pathe, which distributes 20th Century Fox products outsides the United States, will follow in the footsteps of Warner Home Video in the United Kingdom by eliminating a rental window on all video product and charging rental dealers a premium price for the right to rent titles, according to reports coming from the United Kingdom.

Fox's entry into the pricing scheme — which saw a widespread boycott among many independent retailers in the region and chains including market leader Blockbuster of Warner titles after it instituted a similar policy last summer — could possible start with Fox Pathe upcoming release of Tom Hanks starrer The Road to Perdition, due in the U.K. in a few months.

Fox executives are talking to retailers in the U.K. about the pricing change and the supplier is looking at expanding it to other European markets like Italy and France, Gary Ferguson, SVP Fox Home Entertainment Europe, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Rental dealers in the country worry — as they did after the Warner scheme launched last year — that more suppliers will institute this type of pricing plan, which is legal in the region thanks to the lack of a law like the United States' First Sale Doctrine and the existence of the Rental Right Directive, a European law that allows suppliers of video content to control how their product is used in the marketplace.

Fox's rental window, like other suppliers', has been shrinking over the past year in the U.K. from the traditional six months to as little as three months.

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