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Source Code goes VOD before VID

NEWS - MOVIE NEWS

Is this great news for movie buffs, or fantastic news for movie piracy? Arrrr!

The marketing group over at Summit Entertainment is making some interesting choices. Today they announced that Source Code, the Jake Gyllenhaal action flick that came out this past April, will be released to Video on Demand on July 8 – two weeks prior to the DVD/Blu-ray release on July 26th.

The reason that this marks an interesting choice is that there is a considerable risk to releasing a movie to Video on Demand / streaming – high-quality piracy becomes easy to those with the will and the technology, and a burning desire to share media. Or maybe just a passing whim to share. Or maybe qualifying for the Boy Scout 'Sharing' badge, there are any number of reasons. So why would Summit Entertainment willingly release a major film to Video on Demand prior to the hard copy media sale? After all, a report in Variety shows that DVD sales showed a 44% decline from 2009 to 2010. Are they making it easier for people to pirate movies on purpose? An excerpt from Summit's press release stated:

This particular case will test the demand for viewing a bigger budgeted film digitally prior to the release of physical discs.  Summit is not shortening the industry established window between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut, rather this test aligns with the studio’s ongoing efforts to find the best way to present its films digitally. “As the way a consumer’s consumption of feature films evolves, we are always looking for new ways that meet these demands,” said Steve Nickerson, President, Summit Home Entertainment.  “While we are optimistic about the consumer appetite for this type of home entertainment release pattern, we are only conducting a test in this case and not making an overall policy shift at this time.  Once the results are in we will analyze the data and see what the consumer has to say.”

It appears that what Summit is attempting is to test the market for non-pirates; people who didn't go to the theater for whatever reason (cough-declining popcorn quality-cough) and who want to see it may pay for VOD rather than streaming a pirated video if a legal version is available. It's really interesting, and I hope that it works. While there will still be several months between theater and home release, it makes sense to at least test the market for VOD alone, separate from DVD or Blu-ray.

Deadline

See also:

YouTube and the major film studios

The (slightly hypocritical) adventures of the YouTube squirrel


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