If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hey, you know what’d be better than spending $12 bucks on a new movie? Spending more than twice that to watch an even older movie on a smaller screen!” — you’re in luck. Soon, thanks to the magic of technology, you’ll be able to see month-old movies from the privacy of your hovel for just $30. (Microwave meth not included).
During a cable industry convention last week, executives from Time Warner Cable Inc. made the first formal pitch to the Hollywood studios for what is known as “home theater on demand.” The cable company presented a variety of scenarios. But the main one, which has received early support from some studio executives, would allow consumers to watch a movie at home just 30 days after its theatrical release—far earlier than the usual four months—for roughly $20 to $30 a pop.
That proposal is still being debated and talks are fluid. People close to the matter say that several studios could sign on to a version of it as soon as the fall, making the first movies available on such a system by the end of the year or early 2011.
While the plan could be a boon for consumers, it stands to be highly disruptive for the movie business, particularly theater owners. Hollywood would essentially be overhauling the “windowing” system which has sustained the industry for years. [WallStreetJournal]
Yes, I’m sure this is great news for all those fantastically wealthy, misanthropic consumers who hate crowds but for whom money is no object. Perhaps the first run can come with limited-edition Kleenex-box shoes and jizz-resistant snuggies (hey, someone write that down). And since it’s Time Warner, you’ll also be allowed to order the movie, have it not play, then have a Time Warner employee tell you in broken English that refunds aren’t company policy. Not that that’s ever happened to me or anything.