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Hollywood to roll out $30 film rentals

by Sarah Griffiths on 1 April 2011, 11:02

Tags: General Business

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Oscar-winning idea?

Four big Hollywood players are reportedly taking a punt on a premium rental service where film buffs can pay $30 to see films that they just missed in the cinema, at home.

The WSJ reported that the service will aim to pull in money by renting films that are no longer on at cinemas but not released on DVD yet either, effectively filling a gap in the film rental market.

Sony, ComCast, Time Warner and News Corp's studios are reportedly on board and will start making films available ‘soon' on Direct TV and in some ComCast cable markets.

While $30 seems a lot of money for  a one-off rental, it might attract people who missed a film at a cinema and with average ticket prices apparently reaching $7.89 in 2010, the service might appeal to groups of friends who might actually be able to ‘save' some cash.

Apparently the hefty price tag will be for films which have only just stopped showing at cinemas and users will pay less when titles are a little older and presumably available from other rental sources.

The WSJ has commented that while the price might be questionable, the move shows how keen the film businesses is to take advantage or at least survive in a digital world, whereas other media peers, most notably the newspaper and music industry have struggled.

It seems Hollywood is happy with the idea of ‘windows' or time frames giving them the ability to charge different rental prices at different points of a film's life cycle- in a way not dissimilar to buying DVDs in a shop.

It is believed film buffs are comfortable with the ‘windows' concept too and are used to paying out to watch ‘must-see' films at cinemas while waiting longer to see other titles at home to save money. In fact consumers already juggle different costs of cinema tickets, on-demand services like iTunes and monthly subscriptions as well as buying actual DVDs and Blu-ray disks.

HEXUS Forums :: 19 Comments

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Why would I pay £20 to see a film that I can see in the cinema for £4? :s
Why would I pay £20 to see a film that I can see in the cinema for £4? :s

You wouldnt.

Youd be paying £20 to see a film you forgot to see in the cinema.

It also depends on the price, £4 is cheap, the Odeon charges £8.75 a seat.

But if you and a few friends watched it together, the £20 doesnt seem so bad.

I can see its appeal to people with cinema rooms, or a group of friends and nice comfy sofas, but almost no use to people wanting to watch it on their own.
Not a bad idea actually. Quite a few times now I've wanted to see a film, and then by the time I've got around to seeing it, it's not on at the cinemas any more. By the time the DVD comes out, I've typically forgotten I ever wanted to watch it.

Can see the benefits all round, think it just might catch on.
But surely if you wanted to see it that much you would have already seen it? And if not then you would wait to buy it for cheaper?

Normal price here is £6 but £4 with student card. I guess it will have some interest but likely it will get pirated and HD copies of films will be released online even earlier.
….for the sake of £20 i'd watch a film that is out on DVD (there are enough of them) and spend the rest on a take away for us all. Stupid idea IMO.