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Studios Up DVD, VOD Releases


By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 06 Feb 2009

Summit Home Entertainment’s highly anticipated March 17 Twilight DVD and Blu-ray release will reportedly also be available on video-on-demand (VOD) the same day.

The release represents the first major blockbuster title in 2009 to be released electronically day-and-date with DVD. No stranger to curtailed release windows, Summit previously streeted Fly Me to the Moon, Penelope and Never Back Down on DVD and VOD day-and-date.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment Feb. 17 releases Oscar-nominated Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, and Flash of Genius, starring Greg Kinnear, on VOD the same day as DVD and Blu-ray, the studio confirmed.

“This is not necessarily a strategy moving forward, we will review opportunities on a title-by-title basis as appropriate moving forward,” said USHE spokesperson Lea Porteneuve.

Separately, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Feb. 10 will street Bottle Shock on DVD/VOD simultaneously, followed seven days later by Choke.

Peter Chernin, president and COO of News Corp., parent to Fox, has heretofore expressed reluctance to commit titles to electronic sellthrough the same day as DVD. With the studio Feb. 5 posting a 72% drop in operating income, that reluctance might be waning.

Last October, Fox released The Happening simultaneously on DVD and VOD.

Lionsgate shrank the 30-day release window on select titles, including Saw V and W., while Sony Pictures Home Entertainment hasn’t budged. Walt Disney Home Entertainment has sold millions of movie downloads on Apple iTunes, many day-and-date with DVD.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group last year became the first major studio to initiate same day DVD/VOD releases for all significant titles. The studio has spearheaded ongoing tests with cable providers such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others, to determine if eliminating the window between DVD and VOD negatively impacted packaged media sellthrough.

Warner, at the behest of parent Time Warner Inc., pursued same day DVD/VOD releases as a means of increasing marginal revenue and circumventing rental.

Last year Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said electronic sellthrough titles generated from $13 to $14 per title in studio contribution, compared to about $10 for DVD. He said the return was even better with rental, where studio contribution ranged from $2.80 to $3 for electronic rental, compared to 75 cents to 80 cents for DVD rental.

“That’s a pretty good trade,” Bewkes said.

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