Major studios including Disney and Warner Bros., as well as possibly Fox and Sony, are getting closer to forging agreements for an early premium-priced VOD window.
A Comcast rep confirmed late Sunday that it has been in talks with studios about early VOD releases. The rep did not indicate, however, when the films would be available after premiering in theaters or at what price.
Bloomberg News reported Sunday that In Demand, a company owned by major cable operators including Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, is also in discussions with several studios on a premium-priced VOD platform.
In May several studios said they would not support a 30-day window but could be amenable to a 60-day window (Daily Variety May 24).According to sources, the premium fee would be in the $20-$30 range and films could also be available via XBox and other streaming devices.
The theatrical-to-DVD window currently stands at an average of 17 weeks, although a few titles like Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland” have tried a 12-week window, inciting protest from exhibitors both domestic and abroad.
A shortened theatrical window would mean a shorter time to reap theatrical grosses, but sources note that windows would vary from film to film, which could allow longer theatrical playing times for some titles.
In Demand specializes in packaging and distributing digital content including pay-per-view events on behalf of cable operators.
Insiders indicate that post-theatrical premium pricing could happen as soon as early next year, though concerns of piracy protection, exhibitor relations and homevideo retailers have yet to be settled.