In a move that is fantastic for Blockbuster, pretty decent for the Weinteins, and absolutely HORRIBLE for consumers, the Weinsteins and Blockbuster have announced an exclusive DVD rental deal. The long and the short of it is this: From now on, films that are made by the Weinsteins are going to be exclusively available fro rental through Blockbuster. No other rental store, not Netflix, not iTunes… just through Blockbuster.
The folks at Yahoo news gives us this:
The deal teams Blockbuster with movie industry veterans brothers Bob and Harvey Weinstein as it tries to counter an expensive rivalry with Netflix Inc. over online rentals, as well as cooling store-based movie rentals.
“Bobby,” a depiction of Robert Kennedy’s final day before being assassinated, starring Anthony Hopkins and Demi Moore, and “The Nanny Diaries” featuring Scarlett Johansson, are part of the first slate of rentals movies to be exclusively available at Blockbuster. According to the deal, Blockbuster will have exclusive rental rights over Weinstein Co. theatrical releases and direct-to-video films beginning on January 1. The two companies will share rental revenues for Weinstein Co. titles.
This is terrible terrible terrible news. For Blockbuster it’s brilliant. It gives them an (although slight) edge over Netflix which they much need right now (although make no mistake about it, in store rentals is still the biggest way people rent their movies, but Netflix is making their lives miserable). But for us, the average movie renter… this sucks.
As of right now, I can use any video renting service I choose and know that I have all the major films available to me. So, I can pick which service or store I want to rent from based on a couple of things:
1) Availability and stock
2) Costumer Service
But now, with a move like this… if I want a Weintein film, I HAVE NO CHOICE. I have to go to Blockbuster.
Are we about to see the days where other studios start to sign these stupid deals? It’s another VHS vs BETA garbage. I won’t be able to walk into just any video rental store and know the newest release will be there… because Fox only distributes rentals through Netflix now. Paramount through Rogers Video and Universal through Blockbuster. Stupid. Have these people learned NOTHING from the lessons of the past?
I don’t blame Blockbuster for making this move. For them it’s nothing but good news. But have they started something that will ultimately kill them? One thing is for certain, if a distribution war begins (as it looks like it is) the real losers will be us.