Engadget has an article about Netflix reaching a deal with Warner Brothers Pictures (people who bring us Harry Potter, Batman, and the Matrix films) where Netflix will delay shipping new release rentals out for 28 days. The idea here is that Warner Bros. hopes that this will encourage people to buy a DVD or Blu-Ray rather than just renting it. It’s a horrible idea, brought about by people who apparently don’t even understand their customers. For this reason, I claim that Warner Bros. Pictures is run by idiots.
First off, people don’t usually buy movies blindly. They want to see them. They’ll either see the movie in theaters or they will rent it. Only after seeing the movie will most people actually buy it, not before. So to delay new video releases with the idea that it will sell more product is a flawed idea from the get go. Delaying rental customers from getting new releases will only do two things. First it will anger your customers and they will stop buying from you (this goes for you too Netflix), and secondly it will cause people to pirate movies. A lot of people pirate movies so they can see the movie, and if they like it they usually buy it. I’m not going to argue that others pirate movies for the sake of doing so and in turn do not buy videos, that happens, but those people wouldn’t have bought it anyway.
Then you have people like me, those of us that plan on buying large box sets once a series has finished it’s movie run (Harry Potter anyone?). I haven’t bought a Harry Potter disc since I bought a Blu-Ray player. The reason? Warner Bros. will probably release a nice (read pricey) box set of all 8 movies (the last book will be turned into 2 movies) and I’d rather buy them all on Blu-Ray at once rather than go through the hassle of selling my DVDs for the first 4 movies right now. I’d rather have a nice box set with all the movies rather than having them scattered among my collection. The box set looks nicer on a shelf. So for me it isn’t so much about not buying the movie as it is about only buying it once. I hate double dipping. My wife and I are slowly replacing DVDs with Blu-Rays but only on movies we really like and only when we find the Blu-Ray for what we consider to be a good price.
So what will I do now that I can’t get Warner Bros. new releases from Netflix the week (or two) after release? I have no clue at this point. But for movies I haven’t seen yet, I can guarantee that I won’t be buying them. So Warner Bros. please get over yourselves, and pull back on this deal, I promise that long term it’s not going to help your video sales any and is really just going to anger your customers. Netflix, if you do even 1 more these kinds of deals, I will personally cancel my account and encourage others I know to do the same.