×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney on Premium VOD: ‘Nothing Substantial Has Come of It’

Despite attempts by Disney to explore the premium VOD window — which offers up home video versions of movies closer to their theatrical release — “nothing substantial has come of it,” the studio said.

That should give theater owners a little bit of relief as exhibitors worried that earlier than usual VOD releases would leave them with empty seats. They might have a few more years to remain calm, outside of the continued experimentation by independent filmmakers and smaller distributors.

“I don’t see any substantial changes (in premium VOD growing from the major studios) in the next few years,” said Walt Disney Studios president Alan Bergman on Wednesday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2014 Media, Communications & Entertainment conference.

Instead, Disney is focused on digital ownership through the electronic sell-through window, which generally makes films available through digital retailers three to four weeks before disc releases.

“We’re trying to jumpstart electronic purchases and it’s been effective,” Bergman said. “It will be something we will continue to do.”

That’s especially true as consumers shift away from building large physical DVD and Blu-ray libraries at home, with disc sales off around 8% to 10% each year, Bergman said. On the flipside, digital sales are up 37%.

“Clearly the physical business has had a difficult five or six years and continues to decline,” said Bergman, although he stressed “it’s still a very significant business,” that’s expected to generate $8 billion in 2014. “We have titles people want to buy on physical but digital is the future and that’s why we put resources behind movies on demand. In the longterm, we want people to buy our movies on digital platforms.”

SEE ALSO: Premium VOD War Is Back: Disney, Sony Early Releases Sure to Enrage U.S. Exhibitors

To encourage more digital sales of its titles, Disney launched the Disney Movies Anywhere service in February that enables users to watch Disney, Pixar and Marvel movies online and on the go, while providing them exclusive extras and rewards.

The service’s app has been downloaded over 4.5 million times so far, Bergman said.

The goal is to now expand Disney Movies Anywhere to make it accessible on more devices and function with more retailers, not just Apple’s iTunes store.

“The goal is interoperability,” Bergman said, to let consumers “buy a movie where they want and watch it where they want.” He did not specifically mention new kinds of deals Disney would make, nor UltraViolet, the digital storage locker most studios, retailers and electronics makers have backed to boost digital purchases.

SEE ALSO: Will ‘Veronica Mars’ VOD Release Kickstart New Trend in Hollywood?

With a strong slate of tentpole films coming from the studio in 2015 and 2016, and “Frozen” and Marvel Studios releases performing strongly at the box office, Bergman naturally pushed the moviegoing experience at the multiplex.

“We want these movies to be seen in theaters,” he said. “They’re the best place to see these movies.”

But “theater owners need to make sure that the experience is great,” he stressed, referring to the quality of seating, sound and picture. “If we both hold up our bargain, we’ll be in good shape.”

More Biz

  • China Spying Technology Tik Tok Placeholder

    TikTok Gains Global Momentum -- but Also Raises Sticky Privacy Questions

    Bay Area rapper Saweetie didn’t intend for “My Type” to come out as a single. But when a clip of the bouncy anthem about desirable (and slightly vulgar) attributes in a partner started to take off on TikTok as part of a social media challenge, it became clear the song would be her defining hit. The [...]

  • Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift

    Carlyle Group, Investors in Taylor Swift Catalog, Address Scooter Braun Drama (Sort Of)

    Kewsong Lee, co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a private equity fund whose assets include a minority investment in Big Machine Label Group, the record company that’s home to Taylor Swift’s catalog, spoke to CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” on Wednesday. During the interview, held at the Goldman Sachs Financial Conference, host Wilfred Frost asked the business executive [...]

  • Mergers and Deals Placeholder

    Top 19 Media Trends of 2019: Mega Mergers

    Media consolidation has been rife in the past two years, as traditional media companies have scaled up in order to protect themselves against the new entrants challenging their business.  Traditional media has spent $229 billion since March 2018 on just six key mergers as rivals opted to combine their assets to compete in the new [...]

  • Conde Nast Deirdre Findlay Mike-Goss

    Condé Nast Names Former Google, Sotheby’s Execs to CMO and CFO Posts

    Condé Nast announced the appointments of Deirdre Findlay — previously a senior marketing exec at Google and Stitch Fix — as chief marketing officer, and Mike Goss, previously with auction house Sotheby’s, as chief financial officer. The hires are the latest reshuffling of Condé Nast’s senior leadership under CEO Roger Lynch, who joined the media [...]

  • Chris Cotton

    Comedian Chris Cotton Dies at 32

    Chris Cotton, a comedian best known for his online talk show “Every Damn Day,” died Thursday from unknown causes. He was 32. Comedy Central confirmed Cotton’s death in a tweet saying, “We’re devastated by the loss of Chris Cotton — a hilarious comedian, a beloved member of the Comedy Central family and a joy to [...]

  • Orlando Bloom

    Orlando Bloom Sets First-Look Deal With Amazon

    “Carnival Row” star Orlando Blook has inked a first-look deal with Amazon, Variety has learned. Under the deal, Bloom will develop television and film projects for Prime Video. Bloom currently stars on Amazon’s “Carnival Row” alongside Cara Delevigne. The series premiered back in August and was renewed for a second season ahead of the series premiere. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content