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Netflix agrees to delay new releases by 28 days

In a move sure to satisfy customers who hate new movies, Netflix has signed deals with Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Universal, agreeing to delay all of the studios’ new DVD releases by 28 days [insert “for delivery by rage-fueled zombies” joke here]. As a reward for potentially irritating its clientele, Netflix will be allowed to significantly increase its catalog of streaming content, including entire seasons of TV shows like 24, Arrested Development, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Meanwhile, the studios believe being forced to wait nearly a month to see films like Avatar—which sees official release on April 22, but won’t hit Netflix until May 20—will spur Netflix subscribers to go out and actually buy them. Or, they could just go to Blockbuster, whose first-lien arrangement to stock movies like Sherlock Holmes before anyone else has been touted in recent, Netflix- and Redbox-mocking ads. (What they most certainly will not do is download them illegally.) Of course, how you feel as a Netflix subscriber depends mightily on whether you’re a frequent user of its streaming service, and whether you even care about seeing new releases in a timely fashion, but as Techdirt points out, it “doesn't make keeping your product out of customer hands any smarter of a business plan when you're trying to compete with piracy.”

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