Greenfield: Shorter Windows Could Reduce Movie Piracy


BTIG Group media analyst Rich Greenfield, who rattled a few cages with a Jan. 18 blog posting urging movie studios to fight piracy with innovation instead of legislation, is throwing his support behind further shrinking on demand windows.
And in his most recent blog post, Greenfield is asking for feedback through a one-question survey to determine just how much people are willing to pay watch a new movie at home. Take the survey here.
On demand movie windows have shrunk considerably over the years -- Time Warner Cable and DirecTV each tested out 30-day windows for $30 per movie, a move that attracted the ire of the movie theaters and directors amid what some considered less than tepid demand. Currently most windows are about 90 days, still well behind illegal download sites and storage lockers - like the recently shuttered MegaUpload - that make pirated movies available close to their initial release dates.
In his blog posting, Greenfield notes that most people would pay for those same movies if the windows were comparable. He notes that although most of the content available on Netflix is available for illegal download online for free, the service has 21 million subscribers that pay it $7.99 per month. And though critics have said that shorter windows would increase piracy - it's a lot easier to copy a movie in a home than with a camera in a darkened movie theater - Greenfield states that it's a risk worth taking.
"We do not dismiss this risk, but we firmly believe the best way to attack piracy is to make content easily available at a reasonable price to consumers," Greenfield wrote.
Greenfield proposes a $20 to $25 price point for new movies for a 24-to 48-hour viewing period, which could net the studios as much as $20 for each flick, five times the $4 they receive from an $8 movie ticket.