In South Korea, Experimenting With VOD Of In-Theatre Movies
Two Hollywood studios have shortened the window between theatrical and home entertainment distribution to as little as three weeks, giving customers the option of seeing movies at home while they're still playing broadly in theatres.
Two Hollywood studios, Walt Disney and Sony Pictures, are presenting South Korean customers with the option to rent a movie while it’s still playing in theaters. It’s being labeled as “super-premium” video on demand (VOD) because of the early window: For example, Sony’s “Django Unchained” was made available for rental three weeks after its theatrical launch, at a time when the film was still playing across the country. While the studios haven’t yet made the results public, a spokesperson for South Korea’s largest VOD provider said revenue from these movies was 30 percent higher than for comparable films.
What’s the Big Idea?
Having the ability to watch first-run theatrical movies at home may appeal to families with young children and those who can’t or won’t go to theaters, but others aren’t exactly thrilled with the concept. Major American theater chains won’t play movies without at least a 90-day window; any shorter “muddies the value proposition being offered to consumers,” says National Association of Theatre Owners spokesperson Patrick Corcoran. However, Korean Film Council researcher Kim Young-gi thinks their fears may be overblown: “Movie-going is a cultural experience, VOD is like watching TV…I expect their markets will remain separate.”
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