Survey: No major risk in day-and-date

Research carried out by research firm BTIG Research suggests there is not a major industry risk to collapsing the theatrical-to-home entertainment window.

The firm sought to ascertain views on how would releasing movies earlier in the home impact movie spending and piracy; whether people are all inherently movie thieves, or would a wider array of legal offerings increase consumer spending, by asking: “If new movies released in the theater were offered simultaneously to you in your home via cable/satellite video-on-demand or via internet video-on-demand (e.g., iTunes/Amazon) for $20-$25 per movie, would it ‘increase’ / ‘decrease’ / ‘have no impact’ on your household’s movie expenditures and movie industry piracy.”

According to BTIG, key takeaways from the survey included:

  • Offering movies in-home, day-and-date with their theatrical release would be neutral to positive for annual spending on movies, with 93 per cent of respondents indicating that their spending would be the same, if not higher (28 per cent said higher, 65 per cent no change).
  • Furthermore, analysing the “decrease in movie spending group,” illustrates that they would actually end up spending less on concessions and parking, not the actual movie tickets – respondents did not know (which is understandable) that there is a difference between who gets what from spending on the movies themselves vs. concessions/parking.
  • In terms of the impact on piracy, 60 per cent of respondents indicated it would have no impact on piracy or decrease it (40 per cent no impact, 20 per cent decrease). While the piracy increase group was twice as large as the decrease piracy group, BTIG believes the risk is mitigated by the fact that the increased spending on movie group was four times larger than the decrease spending group. There was clear consensus among respondents that piracy was already rampant, with nobody indicating they would actually turn to piracy themselves.

“While we expect a wide range of interpretations of our survey results/responses by media industry participants, we believe the data in aggregate does not show a major industry risk to collapsing the theatrical-to-home entertainment window,” blogged BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield. “There would be some uplift in consumer spending on movies with a greater share of that spending captured by movie studios vs. movie exhibitors, offset in part (at worst) by a rise in piracy. That being said, it is hard to image movie studios/content creators losing from giving consumers what they want vs. sticking to their legacy sequential release pattern (i.e. windowing).”

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