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Fox CEO Stacey Snider Ups Theatrical Window Reset Rhetoric

17 Feb, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Fox CEO Stacey Snider at Re/code Media 2017

Perhaps taking a cue from 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdock’s desire to shorten the traditional theatrical release window, 20th Century Fox CEO Stacey Snider told a tech confab the issue is at the forefront of studio conversations in Hollywood.

Speaking Feb. 14 at Re/code Media 2017 in Dana Point, Calif., Snider said Fox is more dependent on theatrical exhibitors than other studios with parent companies immersed in cable, telecom and broadband distribution.

“It really genuinely does matter to us. It’s not a platitude. We don’t have the same cable assets. We’re not going to be bought by AT&T this week. So that theatrical experience really is important,” Snider said.

The veteran executive, who was appointed chairman and CEO of the studio last September, also reiterated the bottom line that has fueled growing industry acceptance of premium video-on-demand access as requisite business model: namely, that most movies, even the big blockbusters, have done 90% to 95% of their business within three or four weeks of release.

“Who is it helping not to offer a PVOD earlier? And who is it hurting?” Snider asked.

At the same time, Snider didn’t know what the potential impact of offering a movie to consumers in the home at a premium price the same week of its theatrical release.

“I know that sooner seems to make sense,” she said.

Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros., has been vocal about ramping up PVOD through a business model that would split revenue between exhibitors and studios. The strategy has been employed on a limited basis by Paramount Pictures, which made deals with select exhibitors to offer PVOD access on titles 17 days after their distribution dropped below 300 theaters.

Fox’s Snider, who characterized herself as a longtime cinema buff, said the last thing studios want to do is commoditize the cinematic experience and make it interchangeable with the home entertainment experience.

She said rollout of PVOD would mandate an appreciation of consumers’ needs, the moviegoing experience and working within that environment.

“It’s not about smashing the [theatrical] window. Maybe it’s about opening it up a little or tightening it. That’s the truth of what our business is. And I don’t think it’s controversial to say, that for a business to not be able to sell what it makes for periods of time, is anachronistic.”


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