While consumers generally like Netflix (and its streaming option even more), Hollywood studios, currently facing declining DVD sales, have a much frostier attitude toward the popular rental service. In fact, they have more or less blamed Netflix and cheapo on-site rental service Redbox for the nearly 14 percent decline in DVD sales last year.
Warner Bros. is the first studio to take a stand, according to a report from the Chicago Tribune: It and Netflix have announced a deal where Warner Bros. movies won't be available for rental until 28 days after their release. Say, Warner Bros., could you phrase this in a way that doesn't make you sound completely greedy?
"Within the home entertainment category, we're creating different times at which a product is available at different prices," said Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.' home entertainment president.
That's a "no" then?
The Trib report states that the studio already limits the availability of its titles to Redbox, which has apparently sparked a court battle. This Netflix deal avoids anything too messy and theoretically benefits the rental service:
Under the complex renewal terms finally worked out, Netflix agreed to the 28-day delay in exchange for a more favorable percentage of rental revenue from Warner Bros. discs. Netflix will use the savings to expand its stock of the studio's DVDs and triple the number of Warner catalog titles it provides through its online streaming option.
Industry analysts have been predicting a war between Netflix and Hollywood for a couple of years now, and this truce may signal how things will progress.