Survey: Collapsing Windows Won't Harm Box Office

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BTIG Research media analyst Rich Greenfield's recent push to convince content providers and distributors to reduce on demand windows for movies to zero got a lift Friday, after the majority of the more than 1,300 respondents to his recent survey indicated it would have little impact on entertainment spending or piracy.
Greenfield had proposed in a Jan. 24 blog posting that the best way to fight movie piracy is to eliminate the 90-day windows between theatrical release and on demand debut, charging consumers $20 to $25 for each program. The logic was simple: consumers don't mind paying for content; they just don't want to wait too long for it, hence the 21 million subscribers that pay Netflix $8 per month for older library content. Greenfield proposed that eliminating the window would mean higher profits for studios - their cut would be as much as $20 per movie, five times the $4 they currently get from movie theaters. And it would erase one of the catalysts for pirates - getting content before it becomes officially available for sale.
Greenfield asked a simple two-part question on his Jan. 24 blog: "If new movies released in the theater were offered simultaneously to you in your home via cable/satellite video-on-demand or via internet video-on-demand (e.g., iTunes/Amazon) for $20-$25 per movie, would it "increase" / "decrease" / "have no impact" on your household's movie expenditures and movie industry piracy."
For the first part of the question: what impact a compressed window would have on your household movie expenditures, 7% of respondents said it would decrease spending, 28.4% said it would increase and 64.6% said it would have no change. For the second part - what impact would it have on movie industry piracy - 19.6% said it would decrease piracy; 39.9% said it would increase and 40.6% said it would have no impact.
For more details on actual responses, click here and here.
"While we expect a wide range of interpretations of our survey results/responses by media industry participants, we believe the data in aggregate does not show a major industry risk to collapsing the theatrical-to-home entertainment window," Greenfield wrote on his blog. "There would be some uplift in consumer spending on movies with a greater share of that spending captured by movie studios vs. movie exhibitors, offset in part (at worst) by a rise in piracy. That being said, it is hard to image movie studios/content creators losing from giving consumers what they want vs. sticking to their legacy sequential release pattern (ie. windowing)."

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