We know you love watching movies On Demand, and that you want access to new movies as soon as possible. When it comes to when and where movies are available, the Hollywood studios work with their partners like Comcast to offer the movies in varying "windows" of time. It’s hard to generalize since every movie is different, however it used to be that typical movie availability might look like what’s shown below. There are actually many more windows and it’s pretty complex, but here’s the gist:
Start: Theatrical Release
Theatrical + 4.5 months: DVD Release/Rental
DVD + 1.5 months: Pay Per View (PPV) Rental
PPV + 6 months: Premium (HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.)
Premium + 15 months: Free TV (ad supported)
We have been working hard in partnership with the studios to get movies to you sooner. A couple years ago we did a deal with IFC to get movies On Demand the same time they’re in the theatrical window. These movies perform very well, benefitting customers, Comcast and IFC. Good stuff!
With the rest of the studios, our immediate goal has been to reduce the 1.5 months (i.e. 45 days) between DVD availability and when it’s On Demand. In 2006, we began a test with most studios to investigate the benefits of releasing movies On Demand the same day as the DVD, known in industry parlance as releasing it to On Demand "day-and-date" with DVD release. It was a major industry initiative led by Comcast in partnership with Hollywood. The results were favorable and in July 2007 Warner Brothers released the first national day-and-date title, Astronaut Farmer. For a relatively small film, the same day as DVD release was a hit with customers. Since then, the effort has gained a lot of momentum.
In 1Q09, over half (!) the new release movies offered by Comcast On Demand were day-and-date with DVD. That’s a lot of progress. Warner Bros and New Line release the majority of their titles On Demand same day as DVD. Fox, Universal, Summit and MGM also provide day-and-date movies, but not quite the majority of their films. We recently saw the biggest On Demand movie opening ever with Twilight available the same day the DVD debuted.
But that’s not all. At the same time we’ve been working on reducing release windows, we’ve also been working on lengthening rental periods. We often get questions from customers about why rentals are only allowed for 24 hours, it would be nice to have at least 48 hours to keep the rental over a weekend Not surprisingly, the studios also govern rental windows. We’ve made progress here too working closely with the studios, and today posted the first 48 hour movie rentals.
So, this month On Demand we have the following day-and-date with DVD releases: He's Just Not that Into You (6/2), Gran Torino (6/9), The Cell 2 (6/16), Friday the 13th (6/16) and Inkheart (6/23). For these, the HD versions are available for a 48-hour rental window. (We actually have ALL the Friday the 13th movies in both HD and SD!) 12 Rounds (6/30) and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun Li (6/30) will also be available same day and in HD. My Bloody Valentine available in 3D and HD, Razortooth, New in Town, Octane and Kaidan will be available for a two-day viewing period. Other blockbusters in June include Valkyrie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Last Chance Harvey - all available in HD.