Regal Entertainment CEO Amy Miles says her company would be willing to consider endorsing a premium video on demand plan — but that’s hard to do as long as Hollywood studios are divided about how it would work.
“It’s very difficult to predict” the outcome of talks between studios and theater owners, she told analysts today. “Right now there is not a consensus among the studio partners with respect to what any kind of long term windowing structure should be.”
Studios want to offer new movies to home viewers within the 90 day period when theaters traditionally have them exclusively. Exhibition chains don’t want to give up that tradition without receiving some benefit.
But studios are at odds over matters including “how long after theatrical [movies would appear on PVOD], considerations of third party pricing, protection of content — there are a lot of issues there,” she says.
Regal has told studios “if there is an arrangement that impacts a change in windows, that grows the overall pie, and provides us with long term financial protection, then that is something we’d be willing to participate in,” she says.
She declined to say whether, or how, Regal might retaliate if a studio introduced a PVOD plan that failed to satisfy the chain. “Anything would have to be very fact and circumstance based,” she says.
Disney, which dominates box offices with Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar releases, has said it’s not interested in PVOD.
Miles took a mild jab at the argument that studios are feeling pressure to introduce PVOD to make up for the declines in home video sales. She cited a New York Times story that said studios feel an “urgent” need for PVOD — noting that it ran in 2010.
“Obviously here we sit today, seven years later, still discussing the urgency of premium VOD,” she says.
Earlier in the call she attributed weak Q2 box office results to “the commercial appeal of the content.” She added, though, that “the long term box office remains remarkably stable.”
CFO David Ownby acknowledged that Q2 “was not what we had hoped for from a box office perspective.”