Shattering The Release Window

Nov 27 2012 @ 4:44pm

Driven to illegally downloading his new favorite show, "Homeland", Frederic Filloux wants to end release windows, or the amount of time between the airing of a TV show or movie and its availability online or through DVD:

Motion pictures should probably be granted a short headstart in the release process. But it should coincide with the theatrical lifetime of a production of about three to four weeks. Even better, it should be adjusted to the box office life – if a movie performs so well that people keep flocking to cinemas, DVDs should wait. On the contrary, if the movie bombs, it should be given a chance to resurrect online, quickly, sustained by a cheaper but better targeted marketing campaign mostly powered by social networks.

Similarly, movie releases should be simultaneous and global.

I see no reason why Apple or Microsoft are able to make their products available worldwide almost at the same time while a moviegoer has to wait three weeks here or two months there. As for the DVD release windows, it should go along with the complete availability of a movie for all possible audiences, worldwide and on every medium. Why? Because the release on DVD systematically opens piracy floodgates (but not for the legitimate purchase on Netflix, Amazon Prime or iTunes).

I've effectively stopped "going to" the movies, because TVs are as good, if not as giant, and because I don't like crowds, can stop the movie at home to take a pee or grab some munchies, and rewind parts I didn't quite catch.

And I think all the publicity and promotion for movies would be more productive if reviews came out and potential viewers could all watch it the same night. Movie theaters would go the way of books in a Tablet world. They'd be for purists, nostalgics and those who need the big movie event experience. But increasingly, with HD and 3D TVs competing, you need an Imax to really get the full benefits of physical scale.

I think a huge market exists for people who read a review on Friday morning and download it Friday night. Because they have to wait their attention wanders. Then the movie is out of theaters for a while. By the time it's available on your TV, all the marketing money is essentially useless. I'm sure movie-theaters want to resist the direct-to-viewer streaming and downloading. But so did Blockbuster.