Releasing MoviesIt’s happened, almost in the blink of an eye. We can now access recent release movies on the internet, dvd and bluray, pay per view, and at the theater. The advances in home theatre equipment mean that people have more choices viewing film entertainment than ever. Some people would much prefer to watch movies from the quiet confines of their own home, rather than competing with screaming babies, troublesome teenagers or rude mobile phone users at the cinemas.

Having the best entertainment systems at home helps these people to experience the film in much the same way as the theatre. There will always be audiences who really enjoy the movie theatre experience. Regardless of preference and the choice, studios must come to a decision on how to proceed. Should they release as they have traditionally; the film releases to cinemas, then onto television, dvd and bluray later? Or should the studios release the film across all platforms simultaneously?  Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of releasing a film to all platforms.

Pros

  • Enables the ability to satisfy the preferences of consumers simultaneously.  In an instant the person who wants to go to the theater, the one who wants to use a computer, and the one who wants to stay at home, can all view the movie. The opening weekends would gross much more than just a traditional theatre release.
  • The odds of making the studio a return on its investment during opening weekend are much higher.  Critics need time to make assessments of the film and it would be advantageous for the studio to make as much money as possible in the shortest amount of time.
  • Films with smaller budgets, such as independent films, are given much more exposure.  More exposure means more people are seeing the film and more money is being made.

Cons 

  • Simultaneous release shortens the length of time available to realize a profit.  Traditionally speaking, films make money over a period of time following each release to a different platform. Less time may mean less grosses over time. The person who would have traditionally seen the movie at the cinemas may waive that in favor of buying the dvd, or watching it on television, therefore losing the profit of the cinema ticket.
  • There could be a significant impact on theaters and companies that sell dvds and blu-rays.  Consumers who don’t care to watch in the theaters and have the option to watch at home, on television the weekend of release will skip the theater and may not buy the dvd or blu-ray at all.

There are obvious issues in the way of making a decision but one needs to be made.

As technology advances and more choices are available, consumers will change their habits and the demand for each of the platforms will change. Studios are faced with a difficult choice.

Studios are also facing challenges with regards to theatre chains.  Theatres aren’t too keen on the idea of simultaneous multi-platform release. It steals sales from them. Theaters have fought this as evidenced by the release of Tower Heist in 2011. The studio was planning on releasing the film to theatres and video streaming sites during the same weekend. The major theatres companies banned together and threatened to pull the film. With this threat, the studio backed out of the video-streaming release.

With all of these challenges, what are studios supposed to do?  The bottom line is that it depends on the consumer. Studios, theatres, distributors, cable television, and video-streaming sites will all have to work together to satisfy the wants and needs of the consumer. It is imperative for all of them to work toward the same goal: keeping customers and keeping them happy.