New York-area cable operator Cablevision (CVC) is trying an idea that is both novel and bizarre: It will let customers order an on-demand movie 30 to 40 days earlier than they normally would get to see it — if they also buy the movie on DVD.
Cablevision cut a deal with Popcorn Home Entertainment (DVD distribution deals with Universal and Warner Bros.) to offer films on-demand on the day they go on sale at retail. (Normally, cable systems have to wait a month or more to sell movies on demand, in order to protect DVD rentals/sales income.) Customers buy the movie through the “Popcorn DVDs On-Demand” section of the Cablevision menu for the price of a (pretty expensive) DVD: $19.95 plus shipping. The movie is then available for immediate viewing, and customers get a DVD copy in the mail.
We get the appeal — from the cable guys’ perspective: This allows them to close the window between theatrical and VOD release of films without upsetting Hollywood, which gets both its DVD money and it’s VOD money. Can someone explain why a sober customer would order one of these?
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