That will be the question this month, as select studios begin rolling out the long-rumored “premium VOD” releases. It will reportedly begin with Direct TV and then roll onto Comcast as well as Vudu (the broadband VOD platform owned by Wal-Mart). Here’s the basic idea: a film will be made available on VOD some 60 days after its theatrical opening, rather than the standard 90 or 120 days. For that accelerated windowing, the film will be available for a 48-hour rental at a price of $29.99. The question is, what sort of films will justify such a high price point? Currently, the highest price point for movies on VOD, is $9.99 for pre-theatrical films (typically from Magnolia or IFC). This new price point is a staggering jump, but for studio films. Does it matter? What do you think about it? Will you rent Hollywood films for $30? Here is some more info from The Hollywood Reporter:
Warner Bros., Fox, Sony and Universal are all on board, according to insiders. The movies will be available for 48 hours for $29.99. Fox Searchlight titles will be offered 60 days from the date that they go wide.
While DirecTV will offer the service to its to customers nationwide, Comcast and VUDU will do so only in select markets, at least initially. Studios are hoping that premium VOD can help offset the decline of the DVD business, once a major source of revenue.
But some in the industry question whether consumers will want to pay up to $30 for a movie. There’s also concern over piracy. Paramount isn’t taking part in the premium VOD service because of this issue.