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Warner Altering Distribution to Rental Channels?

23 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Studio would expand 28-day embargo beyond kiosks and Netflix to include video rental stores

Retail and distribution sources say Warner Home Video is set to impose for the first time a 28-day delay on new releases to video stores beginning Nov. 1.

The embargo would include new releases Crazy, Stupid, Love Nov. 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 Nov. 11, among others.

It remains unclear whether Warner, beginning in January, would impose a planned 60-day embargo on new release titles to all rental channels or just kiosks such as Redbox and Blockbuster Express.

“Some of the Warner reps have called our key customers to let them know about this upcoming change,” said a distributor who wished to remain anonymous. “They have all been consistent with their message.”

The move underscores parent Time Warner and Warner Home Video’s mandate to protect higher-margin sellthrough of DVDs and Blu-ray Disc and transactional video-on-demand from lower-margin rental options.

A Warner representative did not comment by press time.

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