If you commonly rent Warner Brothers DVDs from Netflix, Redbox, or Blockbuster you may soon have to wait longer to have access to those movies. A new deal specifies that rental services will have to wait 56 days to receive new releases after Warner Brothers DVD movies go on sale.
All Things D was the first to report the new deal inked between Warner Brothers and various rental services like Netflix, Redbox, and Blockbuster. In the past, those rental services were forced to wait 28 days before they could offer the studio’s movies to customers. This new deal doubles that wait time to 56 days.
The new deal is likely being put in place for the same reason the original 28 day wait was instituted, to bolster DVD sales. Sources are telling All Things D that the deal is likely to be officially announced at CES 2012 next week. If the deal does go through and is publicly announced at CES, it stands to reason that other studios will follow suit with their own deals very quickly.
In the past, Netflix did see a second hand benefit from deals such as these. In general, the rental company used the 28 day wait to argue for access to more streaming content and for special pricing deals on the DVDs that they did buy from the studio, once the wait period was over. All Things D is reporting that this time Warner is not granting any extra digital rights, but they will still offer discs at a discount when purchased in bulk.
In addition to this news, HBO announced they would stop selling DVDs of their shows to Netflix completely. Netflix will still be able to purchase those discs from other places, but they will not get the benefit of a bulk discount that they were receiving from purchasing from HBO directly.
Both of these moves seem to indicate that other content providers see themselves as competitors to Netflix instead of partners. HBO wants to push their own streaming services and to sell their own DVDs. Warner is part of the consortium that created Ultraviolet, so they clearly want to discourage people from using services that technically compete with that offering.
Either way, things are starting to get more difficult for Netflix in terms of obtaining content from studios and networks. How these types of deals impact Netflix, Redbox, and Blockbuster in the future will be interesting to follow.