Movie studios, Apple discussing ways to offer digital film rentals shortly after the theater release

Movie studios such as Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are “pressing on” in discussions with Apple and Comcast Corp. on ways to offer digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theaters, reports Bloomberg, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.” Naturally, owners of theater chains aren’t happy about this.

After months of negotiations, the two sides haven’t been able to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to create a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product, adds Bloomberg. Still, most Hollywood studios, except for Walt Disney, want to make this happen, the article adds.

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Hollywood studios typically give theaters exclusive rights to new movies for 90 days or more before issuing them on DVD or making them available for online purchase. With cinema attendance mostly stagnant and home-video revenue flat in recent years, film companies are looking for new areas of growth.

They also feel that their advertising can be more effective and cost efficient if a film’s home entertainment release is closer to its theatrical debut. By grouping those two things closer together, studios wouldn’t have have to launch a massive promotional campaign to reintroduce consumers to a movie months after it was in theaters, according to Variety.

Despite the potential problems, movie studios discussed sharing a split of the revenue from premium video on demand, or PVOD, with the cinema chains “if they give their blessing to the concept.” However, the exhibitors have sought a long-term commitment of as much as 10 years for that revenue split, which the studios have rejected, according to Bloomberg.