Maybe Warner Bros. execs didn't get the memo on stats showing that online streaming sites like Netflix, as well as reduced wait times between a film's theatrical release and its availability as a rental, actually have curbed piracy all over the world.
Because if they'd recieved that memo, and cared anything about the potential that its films would be pirated and dumped online for audiences around the globe to download via torrent streams, I'm not so sure they'd be so quick to act on this…
In an obvious attempt to help bolster DVD sales (once a significant cash stream for studios), the WB is planning a release strategy change that would make DVD rental companies like the aforementioned Netflix, as well as brick and mortar firms like Redbox and Blockbuster, wait 56 days instead of the current 28 days after a DVD goes on sale, before they can offer the latest releases as rentals to their customers.
So, for the consumer, this means, you'll have to either spend the $20 or whatever dollars to buy a DVD that you may actually just want to rent for $3.99, and have no interest in owning; or you wait an extra 28 days (about a month) after the DVD goes on sale to rent it from your favorite online or real-world rental retailer.
Netflix is said to be going along with the new plan, because it won't necessarily hurt their online streaming model won't be hurt; however, Redbox and Blockbuster intend to fight this decision… though I'm not quite sure how much leverage they have and just how successful they'll be.
But, based on 2011 year-end reports on film piracy (specifically of Hollywood studio movies) around the world, which I posted on S&A about a week ago (HERE), this doesn't seem like a smart move for the WB.
I figured studio execs would by now be instead looking to the future, and investing their resources into coming up with a business model that allows audiences to consume what they want, when they want, while still remaining profitable in the process. Therein lies the challenge…