Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Free Markets in Movies

For a while now, various ideas have been floated to try and improve the movie going experience. One that has always intrigued me is selling the movie on DVD at the theater. You liked it, you can take it home right away. It would seem to make as much sense as selling CDs after a concert. But the concept apparently terrifies theater companies.

PARIS: A Hollywood film about a bumbling New York museum security guard is stoking an international feud between movie theater chains and movie producers about how much time passes between a film's theatrical release and DVD sales. (IHT)

Movie theaters in Europe are refusing to show Night at the Museum because it is scheduled to be released on DVD a mere 13 weeks after it is released to theaters. The major theater chains in Germany and Britain are convinced that without more than three months of exclusivity they cannot compete with home theaters. French theaters are not complaining, because they are protected by a law that prevents the release to DVD for six months. These theaters are admitting that they are so unpleasant people would rather wait 13 weeks and watch a movie at home than deal with seeing it on the big screen.

It would seem that the theaters don't understand their own market. The role of theater is not that of "the only place to see a movie," but rather "the best place to see a movie." If a major chain cannot compete with a tv at home, it deserves to die. Unfortunately for them, they might.

HT TechDirt


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