Congrats, WB. You’ve just found a new way to alienate part of your customer base.
Engadget has posted an article talking about how Netflix has agreed to let Warner Bros. delay getting them copies of new releases until 28 days after they’re made available for sale. Even worse, Netflix is apparently in talks to have similar arrangements with other studios. The upside is that Netflix will be getting more catalogue streaming content from WB.
This deal makes even little sense for WB, regardless of streaming concessions. Generally, if I’m going to make an effort to rent a new release, it’s because I need to see it and I missed the film in the theater. However, I’ve got enough stuff to watch that whatever new release WB put out that I would have put at the top of my queue is now just going to get pushed aside for other new content as opposed to thinking, “Oh crap! This movie isn’t available right now so I’d better go out to a brick and mortar rental store to get it!” Essentially, this move costs their films exposure and word of mouth. With this move, WB (as well as any other studio that goes this route) has not only lowered how much money they’ll make per disc from Netflix, but they’ve also just made their releases library releases as opposed to new releases by the time they’re available for rental.
I’m not going to end this with calling for a boycott on Warner Bros. This move just seems to really only hurt one group in the end: WB. If WB releases a movie I love on DVD/Bluray, I’m not going to rent it. I’m going to buy it. However, with this move, Netflix has agreed to let WB hurt the chances of their films getting maximum exposure. At first, people will be bummed that they can’t get their releases on the day everyone else can. Some MIGHT even hit a B&M rental place to get the movies initially. Eventually, though, WB will become an afterthought in the Netflix community. We joined Netflix so we don’t have to go to a store. If you don’t want to let us watch your content at the same time as everyone else, you’ll fade into a level of obscurity in our minds.