Netflix Agrees To Delay Rentals Of New Sony Releases By 28 Days

Yesterday, Netflix continued to demonstrate its focus on expanding the company’s online streaming library — at the risk of losing business on new release DVD rentals — by announcing a deal with Sony that would delay rentals of the studio’s new titles by 28 days. In exchange, Netflix receives access to streaming licenses for more Sony titles.

Last spring, Sony made the opposite deal with foundering rental chain Blockbuster. In that arrangement, Blockbuster was allowed to rent out and stream all new Sony titles on the day of release.

Speaking of Blockbuster… NCR, the company that owns and operates the Blockbuster Express kiosks and really wants customers to know they have not filed for bankruptcy, has made a deal with Universal Home Video to delay rentals of that studio’s new titles for 28 days.

Netflix and NCR reach DVD distribution deals [Reuters]

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  1. Mauvaise says:

    I’m actually really ok with this. I don’t have Netflix for new releases and anything that increases their streaming catalog is great by me.

    If I wanted to see a movie so badly that I couldn’t wait 28 days then I would have already seen it in the theater.

    • SanDiegoDude says:

      100% agreed. I think I’ve maybe received 2 DVD’s by mail from Netflix, but I stream movies and TV shows constantly to my TV and computer.

    • fsnuffer says:

      My Ruko box rocks. I was going to cancel my Netflix because the DVDs would sit on my table for weeks at a time, now I am using the streaming capability daily.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      +1

      I will say that I do sometimes queue up new releases before they’re available, so delaying the Netflix release date isn’t exactly a value add for me. But I definitely care more about getting more streaming content than I do about release dates.

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    It’s not like Blockbuster is waiting in the wings to offer Sony releases the day of release, so why not? The company running the kiosks is making the same kinds of deals. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’d love more streaming titles, and if I’ve waited five or six months for a movie to come out on DVD, I think I could wait another 28 days.

    • z4ce says:

      Yeah, I think Netflix is laughing about this. Sony is so eager to slow them down they are willing to make concessions for their profitable “new releases”. What Sony doesn’t realize is their only market for those coveted new releases will soon be Netflix and they will renegade on their own deal…

    • Donathius says:

      I’m with you. If I’m going to purchase a movie, then I’m going to purchase it. There are some movies I’d just rather own than waiting for Netflix to deliver them (Iron Man 2 for example – I’m a sucker for super hero movies). But anything shy of the big blockbusters and I’m perfectly content waiting for Netflix to have it.

  3. Talisker says:

    Blockbuster these days reminds me of the look on Donald Sutherland’s face in Animal House when all of his students were streaming out of the classroom when the bell rang. “I’m not kidding! This is my job!”

  4. Newto-Rah says:

    So…they’re betting on a sinking ship stuck in the stone age rather than an intelligent companies taking advantage of new technologies?

    I somewhat understood the government bailouts, but why does blockbuster need to be held up?

    • MonkeyMonk says:

      Huh? No idea what the point you’re trying to make is.

      • Newto-Rah says:

        The companies give the failing blockbuster everything they want, but restrict netflix/blockbuster kiosks/redbox to older than 28 days It seems like they’re trying to save the blockbuster rather than invest in companies that are doing well and are capable of changing to better serve the market

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Nah, I think it is kind of the reverse. They know Blockbuster is no longer a real threat, so they are throwing Blockbuster a bone.

      The film industry hates rentals–they want people to *purchase* their movies, which is why they are pushing so hard for the “28 day release date delay” for rental companies. Blockbuster used to be a big enough player that they could negotiate a preferred place in these situations, because they have been increasingly out of touch over the past few years.

      Netflix, however, jumped on an opportunity to get more of what their consumers want–streamed movies–in exchange for giving Sony what they want.

      I worked at a Mom’n’Pop rental place for a couple years; we lost a lot of customers to Netflix. We’d see someone who hadn’t been in the store for a while, strike up a conversation, and they would sheepishly admit that they’d been Netflixing, and just came in for some old VHS for their kids.

  5. leprechaunshawn says:

    I’m a little unclear as to how this exactly benefits the movie studios. I have a Netflix subscription so it doesn’t matter to me if the disc is available on the day of national release or 28 days, weeks or months later. Either way, I’m still not buying the movie.

    • full.tang.halo says:

      Same here, not being able to have Clash of the Titans the week it went on sale didn’t make me run out and buy it. Avatar on the other hand was going to be bought by me the day it came out anyway. So on the 1st example the studios made no additional sale, and garnered ill will from me for blocking my being able to rent it. On the 2nd example they again gain no additional sale, because I was going to buy it anyway. The 28 day delay seems to accomplish nothing in the way of boosting sales, and increases the “hate of big movie companies” a rare “lose and lose some more for good measure” situation.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Companies like Netflix and Redbox are eating into the DVD and Blu-ray ownership market. Studios want people to buy the products, but people are opting to rent instead. The studios would alienate their market by shutting out Netflix and Redbox, so it’s trying to mitigate the benefit you get from being a renter by making their new releases available 28 days earlier than they would be for renting. Previously, a studio was losing everyone because there was no point to buying a movie if you could just rent it at a fraction of the cost. The people who buy every new release are already a guaranteed market. What studios wanted to recapture was the market of wishy washy people who aren’t guaranteed to buy. The studios wanted to convince those people to buy rather than rent.

      Now, a studio can at least recapture some of the market because there are always people whose goal is to watch a movie the day of release, and don’t necessarily care whether they buy it or rent it. Delay the rental option, and they just might buy the disc instead.

      • frank64 says:

        I used to buy, but Netflix and other options have got me deciding I don’t need to. At this point if there was no other option but to buy a particular program, I would either decide not to watch it or wait and get it used. There is no going back for most of us.

        I had decided I don’t want to buy an old technology(DVD) and think the Blu-ray cost is not worth it, but really I have no desire to buy at any price.

    • George4478 says:

      You’re not the target. If you’re never going to buy the movie anyway then it doesn’t matter how long it is delayed.

      There are those in the “I don’t want to wait a month, so I’ll buy it instead” crowd. They are the target. How big a group this is remains to be seen, but Sony seems to think it’s large enough to go after..

      • phonebem says:

        I can see what they are aiming for with this however 28 days is a bit excessive. I can only speak for myself but if I’m going to buy a movie I typically buy it on release day (when the Blu-Ray prices are cheap enough to make it borderline not worth the HD space and time it takes to download) if I don’t catch that window then its wait until its on Amazon for dirt cheap with free shipping. So the only time Netflix availability would conflict is release week, anything more is just annoying. Again, that’s just me.

    • Southern says:

      I actually think this is going to HURT the studios more than help them, as I think it’s going to drive more and more people to torrents, since the ONLY alternative is to BUY the movie. If they made it available for renting in Redbox or Streaming on Netflix, most people wouldn’t have a need to get the movie “another way”..

      Let’s see..

      a) Buy the movie for $22, or
      b) Wait 28 days, or
      c) Find it online and download it in 30 minutes.

      For a company that wants to stop (c) so badly, they sure do seem to be doing their best to entice people to do it..

  6. Macgyver says:

    As long as they get more streaming video, I don’t see what the big deal is.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Darn tootin’!
      I get my value from our household’s netflix subscription through the streaming service. For every DVD we watch, someone in the house watches 5 things over streaming.

  7. TuxthePenguin says:

    Have you noticed that when you log onto Netflix, it defaults you to the Watch Instantly section rather than the DVD section? At least it does for me.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      Same here. I never really noticed that before.

    • nova3930 says:

      Netflix is actively trying to switch to a mostly streaming model and encouraging people to stream instead of using the physical disc is part of this.

      IIRC, streaming costs Netflix 1/10 of what mailing a disc does, meaning more $$$ in their pocket…

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        Speaking of that transition, I read somewhere that Netflix spends upwards of $600 million on postage annually. Yeah… there’s a huge cost center that would disappear.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Yes, I did notice that. But since I’ve been doing a lot more streaming lately, I don’t mind a bit. If this deal makes more stuff to watch, I might end up dropping DTV after all. That is, if I can get a decent router.

    • Thanatos says:

      My work computer (where i usually manage my queue) shows the instant page but my home computer shows my DVD page so im not sure whats up.

  8. AI says:

    Movie companies like finding new ways to completely miss the boat. If they wanted to get with the times and cut down on piracy, they’d sell DVD’s for $5, Blu-rays for $10, and streaming for $5 and make it available at the same time the film opens in theaters. And quit putting unskippable trailers on the disk. Let’s face it, theaters are dead, and even 3D isn’t going to bring them back. Sell people what they want, don’t make them wait, don’t piss them off, and they likely will pay for it legit.

    • The hand that feeds, now with more bacon says:

      I drive 40 miles to go to the nearest theater with 4K projectors. I’ll keep going until I can get that same experience at home.

      • Gramin says:

        Agreed… though I don’t drive 40 miles. I only have to drive 6 miles to get to the Showplace Icon… which is simply amazing. Until I can get that screen in my house, I’ll still go for blockbusters and other movies (I’m talking to you “Tron”).

        Some people simply enjoy movies. I’m one of those people. I’ll pay $50 to go see a movie with the girlfriend. While that might seem expensive, it’s much cheaper than an evening at the bars and, in my opinion, more enjoyable.

      • AI says:

        While you certainly get more pixels in a theater, I get better picture and sound at home. How? I can ensure nobody talks in the room when I’m watching a movie and I can ensure nobody’s head gets in between me and the screen.

        Added bonuses include being able to pause to take a leak, being able to drink beer during the show, and being able to pick my own show times.

        • nybiker says:

          First of all, good to see someone else who uses ‘ensure’ correctly. So how do you ensure the peace & quiet? Tell the crowd that the first person who talks during the movie gets their tongue cut out?

          Seriously, though, I agree with you. And since it’s just me watching my DVDs at home I can play ‘guess the dialogue’ without annoying anyone.

          Although as Gramin noted earlier in this thread, I am playing to see Tron 2 on Dec 17 or shortly thereafter. I saw the original way back when so I’ll spring for a theater viewing for that movie.

  9. TVGenius says:

    Netflix has made it clear in the past that they know in a matter of years, if they want to survive, they’ll be out of the DVDs-by-mail industry. It’s just unfortunate that the studios make them jump through hoops like this. Hopefully they won’t get as bad as the recording industry.

  10. BStu78 says:

    I’m fine with this. I get the sense that Netflix is recognizing that a lot of their strength comes from the streaming service and making minor concessions to bolster it is going to be a positive for more subscribers than a negaitve.

  11. Mighty914 says:

    How do you not go with a 28 days later graphic for this article?

  12. FrugalFreak says:

    CAPTIONS on the streaming Catalog NOW PLEASE!

  13. Thyme for an edit button says:

    Sounds good to me. I’d rather have more streaming content than have new releases right when they come out on dvd.

  14. zyphbear says:

    So this is on TOP of the special pressing of Blu-Rays and DVDs for Netflix with TEN (yes, as in 10) full length trailers on it to be used by Netflix? Wow, sounds like the Studios really want to make customer’s not very happy with the Netflix experience, and Netflix is just doing what they can to keep customers even if that means doing whatever the Studios want.

    (For the sake of note, the movie I’m referencing is ‘Date Night’ rental on Blu-Ray. You get the Studio promo [about 30 seconds], Ten Trailers each ranging from 2-4 minutes and the FBI Reel. Without counting the studio promo bit and the FBI stuff, if you couldn’t skip them [which some have blocked out now], you could get stuck into at LEAST TWENTY minutes of trailers before a movie you have paid for as part of your service.)

    • MMD says:

      I’ve taken to putting the DVD in well before I actually want to watch it so that any unskippable plays itself out. The menu is up by the time I’m ready to sit down.

    • jason in boston says:

      That’s funny – the pirated ones don’t have that problem. Maybe hollywood should try to innovate and give people what they want at a fair price.

      I am still dumbfounded why the music industry didn’t give the creator of napster $10million to go away and take over all of the IP. Now, they have to deal with Jobs.

    • claytons says:

      Good thing we have those conveinant skippign features on discs!

      • liz.lemonade says:

        And, as the poster upthread mentioned, some studios are finding ways to disable the skip feature altogether, meaning that (unless you have some fancy DVD mojo) you’re forced to play all the previews instead of just pressing the menu button on the remote.

    • Tiandli says:

      So that’s why I couldn’t skip past any of the previews before Invictus. I pressed the mute button and went to do something else. When I came back, the menu screen was up. Problem solved.

  15. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Works for me. The last new release I saw in theaters was the highly rated ‘Inception’, which didn’t impress me at all (I know it wasn’t a Sony release, I’m just sayin’). If ‘Inception’ is what qualifies as ‘good entertainment’ these days I’m more than happy to wait 28 days (or 28 years) before I can rent any new release.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t think “Inception” (for the record, I loved it) even remotely qualifies as being an example of bad entertainment. How about crapfests like every single formulaic romantic comedy being churned out by Hollywood? In my experience, people who love romantic comedies tend to have really poor taste in entertainment overall.

    • DanRydell says:

      Look at me, I’m the guy who dislikes anything that’s popular. I’m better than you, because you like things that are popular.

      • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

        Look at me, I’m the guy who thinks something is cool because everyone else says it’s cool. I hate anyone who has an opinion that differs from mine.

        ‘Inception’ had one reasonably good idea and they photocopied it 3 times. Excuse me for not being blown away.

        • BomanTheBear says:

          Wow.

          Of all the things you could have said, I was definitely not expecting you to prove DanRydell right. You lose, friend, you lose…

          • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

            Right. I lose. For admitting that I’m not impressed by something. Originally I never said anyone who liked the movie was wrong. Therein lies the difference. My response was meant to be sarcastic. Guess you missed that. Unless you were being sarcastic…

            But since you want to paint me with the elitist snob brush, enjoy the next ‘Twilight’ movie.

  16. mandys08 says:

    sounds fair to me. if you didn’t see it in the theatre, you can wait 28 more days to rent it. Allowing more streaming titles is better in my opinion, if the movie to me was “gotta have it the day it comes out” its probably one i would buy

  17. cmdr.sass says:

    It’s a non-issue. With NetFlix I always know I have a good movie or tv series on its way from my queue. Sooner or later that movie will show up in my mailbox. I can’t remember the last time I needed a movie RIGHT NOW.

  18. dolemite says:

    If I could wait 28 days then stream it, it would be awesome. But…no, you just get to stream old movies as usual.

    There have been a few newer ones (like Zombieland) that I’ve been thrilled to get as streaming, but all-in-all, the streaming service still has grade b movies.

  19. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Moot. Blockbuster SUCKS, you pay per view for their streaming, they screw up and send the wrong movies, a lot of “long wait” , “very long wait” titles in their catalog. Their store rentals are priced too high. They will die the death they deserve.

    Then the studios will have to deal only with Netflix and Redbox.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Uh, they have and studios are. Blockbuster already declared Bankruptcy and are shutting down thousands of stores. The company, as a whole, is done.

  20. slappysquirrel says:

    More streaming is worth it.

  21. deadandy says:

    I’m with the other posters who this does not bother. I used Netflix mostly for streaming.

    Honestly, if I really want to see a film or TV show and the studio is putting barriers in place, I will just torrent it anyway. I have no problem watching ad-supported content or paying for what I watch, but if they make it impossible for me, I’m going to go around it.

  22. SgtBeavis says:

    Anything that brings more streaming content to Netflix is A-OK with me. 28 days is meaningless to me….

  23. Sbb says:

    I really can’t understand how so many people only care about Netflix streaming. I do not enjoy watching streaming movies at what is often (though not always) VHS quality when I could be getting DVD or even Blu Ray quality just by waiting a day to get the disc. Even new releases that were shot well enough to warrant HD quality streaming often do not offer it on Netflix instant view.

    • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

      Really? What do you use to stream? I use a PS3 and it gets me plenty of stuff at 720p, and the 480p stuff looks good too (no real pixelation, etc.)

      No 1080 yet, but even on a 42″ screen I can’t really tell the difference most of the time. And I’m not really one of those person who cares a ton – I can only get so excited about seeing Steve Carell’s pores.

      I think the reason people like the streaming at the expense of the commentary/special features (and, often enough, HD) is just because of the convenience and ease of use. It’s a very consumerist-y thing, and no gimmicks. It’s what people were hoping On Demand would be like.

      • Sbb says:

        Just like you, I use my PS3 to stream. And while there ARE some decent offerings available in HD, they seem to be few and far between, at least from my queue. There are also some random old films that are listed in HD but still look terribly grainy. At least with On Demand, I can usually be sure that something listed in HD will look halfway decent.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          Now that I think about it, I end up watching a LOT of NBC and other television shows on Netflix, and I don’t remember the last full-length movie I streamed as HD. Seems kind of goofy – if a movie studio is making the movie available at all, why not go all the way?

    • SgtBeavis says:

      I wouldn’t say that people “only” care about streaming but it is quite important to a lot of us. For me, I like the ability to get my movies INSTANTLY. Also, I travel quite a bit. Netflix lets me watch movies without carrying those disks around.

      As for video quality, its getting better all the time.

    • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

      I work on an ambulance. I am in my “office” 12 hours a day and when no one is doing stupid things (and/or dying) I have a lot of free time. I have wi-fi in my “office” and get to watch as much streaming as I can, so streaming is a big deal.

      Now if the studios would quit being so douchy and allow more/better* titles to be available.

      *Sorry, but Mallrats?!?!? Seriously, of all the better Kevin Smith movies Netflix options Mallrats. [face palm]

    • Bix says:

      VHS quality? Really? I can’t think of anything I’ve seen on the streaming that comes close other than the weirdly bad quality Degrassi episodes.

  24. JoelCairo says:

    I agree that this is only delaying the inevitable, and Netflix is obviously going to eliminate physical media in the future. However, an observation from someone who usually watches older movies:

    The other day I streamed the fabulous “The Third Man” from 1949. The terrible quality of the film had nothing to do with it being streamed, just that it came from a crappy source. If you buy the DVD (which I’ve rented), the quality is much better because it’s remasterd and a nice transfer. For many of these movies that they stream (I’m looking at you, Charade), the quality of the source is usually the lowest grade, as opposed to the clean transfer from a DVD.

    It’s a big deal, especially for older movies, especially if you enjoy the way movies were shot and the shades of black and white.

    Still think Netflix is great, but that’s a big minus about the streaming in particular.

  25. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    I don’t really care, but I don’t understand how this is legal either.

  26. Joe-TFW says:

    I’ve never had a problem with the Netflix 28 day delay. I still buy the occasional movie, but I can wait on the others. More streaming is also a plus for me. Almost every weekend I’m looking for a new flick to watch on the streaming service.

  27. Riroon13 says:

    Works out great.

    I used to buy every movie I wanted to see.

    Now with Netflix, it helps me judge… Do I really want the movie, or can I wait another month. I wind up only purchasing the stuff I really have to have NOW. The rest, can wait.

    With the expanding streaming library, some nights my family and I will just browse and trip over a flick that we may have really wanted to see earlier but coudn’t due to time/ money, and just watch our random hidden gem.

  28. MerlynNY says:

    More streaming video = win in my book. I could care less about seeing a movie on the day it comes out on DVD. I’d much rather stream it whenever I want anyways as opposed to waiting for a DVD in the mail.

  29. jim says:

    LOL, idiots. If I am waiting 6 months to see a movie for free another month will not matter. They need to rework their business model.

  30. amcfarla says:

    ummm….bittorrent…these media companies actually think this is working?

  31. 3skr1mad0r says:

    Wouldn’t the average subscriber have to wait that long anyway considering Netflix carries a limited number of discs? A few lucky people may get them right away but most would have to wait.
    Not that I tried it but I figured the chances of getting Avatar through Netflix when it was released was slim to none.

  32. joel. says:

    It’s really interesting how opinions have swayed since the first time Netflix announced a deal like this. Pretty much everyone here was up-in-arms about not getting new releases shipped right away. I love that the streaming selection is growing. The quality is excellent and we decreased our rental number to 1 disc at a time because we can augment it with on demand streaming.

    On the business side, clear win for Netflix and, I think, for its customers as well.

  33. gman863 says:

    If the studios can’t get people to buy a new release, the next best thing is to make it instantly available as a PPV title at an inflated price.

    DirecTV now offers many PPV movies on the same day the DVD goes on sale.

    Just one problem. Before this same day shit started, PPV movies on DirecTV were $2.99. Now all movies start at $4.99; higher if you want the HD (Blu-Ray) version.

  34. pot_roast says:

    Oh, lovely. They will certainly be getting Sony Pictures’ B-rated catalog and cartoon library any second now. That’s pretty much what happened with Warner Brothers. Most of my “New Releases” page is full of cartoons for toddlers or B/C rated crap films and direct to video slop.