On today’s Lionsgate earnings call, CEO Jon Feltheimer asserted that PVOD “will happen and I do believe it will be extraordinary for everyone involved in the motion picture business.”
“I think it will expand the pie. I think it’s what, clearly, what consumers want and I would dare say, if it were possible for us all to get in a room together and have exhibitors and studios and digital distributors all get in a room together, I’ve seen enough research to really believe that it’s really something that would be good for everybody and I really believe that in the next 12 months we’re going to see some tests done and some territories in the near future, I think that will happen. I think it would be great for the business” said Feltheimer.
An analyst quipped to Feltheimer that the company should stream that industry meeting when it happens to which the CEO responded, “only if the Department of Justice allows.”
Four days ago, AMC boss Adam Aron informed analysts about PVOD: “I can tell you categorically that no one is close to resolution of this matter…There is no industry consensus.” And that’s the key issue: No one has figured how much exhibition will get out of PVOD, and even some studios believe they shouldn’t get one penny at all. They will face a situation where films become available in the former 90-day exclusive window.
Exhibition stocks no thanks to the sluggish summer box office season have been sinking. One distribution czar told us over the summer, “It would be an awful time to install PVOD, it just wouldn’t be good for the theatrical side of the business.”
There’s been buzz that Warner Bros. will still aim to launch a PVOD window by the beginning of 2018.
Earlier today, Disney announced that they’re launching their own streaming service in 2019 and unplugging from Netflix.
Said one distribution insider recently: “Netflix’s biggest effect has been to compress the various home market windows into one. Physical retail is on its long way out. This is the issue that the studios are facing now. Three or four opportunities to sequence and resell studio content are now down to two and about to be one window. Hence the crazy talk about PVOD. Squeeze another high-return window into the mix before everything comes out one time on all platforms at once.”
As David Lieberman reported: Exhibition investors worried that PVOD would encourage some movie-goers to stay home, depriving theaters of ticket and concession sales. Aron said that outlook drove many Wall Streeters “bonkers.” In the end, Aron said, “the odds of whatever happening being good for exhibitors has a higher probability of happening than for it being bad for exhibitors.”
But as far as right now, PVOD talks are in a stalemate.
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