$30M campaign touts studio plan to release VOD movies at same time as DVDs

Hollywood studios--watching their sales of DVDs continue to steadily decline as services like Nteflix grow--are partnering on a $30 million marketing play promoting the ease of renting movies on demand with cable companies, who also are looking to stop the bleeding they're suffering as upstart web-based services like Boxee, Roku and Wal-Mart's recent buy, Vudu continue to gain traction.

At least eight cablecos, including Comcast, Time Warner and Cox Communications, are working with studios including News Corp., Sony Corp., Universal Pictures and Time Warner Inc. on a branding campaign to make the public aware that more recent releases are being made available earlier on demand. Cable operators also may make more movies available for 48 hours instead of the traditional 24 hours for newer titles.

The studios have steadily added more title available day-and-date, but consumers still often are forced to wait week after a DVD is released before they can get it on demand.

 "I can't speak for my competitors, but I can tell you that we'll more than triple the number of titles that we historically had day-and-date," said Mike Dunn, News Corp.'s Fox Home Entertainment president. Warner Bros.-which began day-and-date-on-demand several years ago-already has most of its titles available day-and-date and plans to make that nearly 100 percent this year.

The studios have steadily added more title available day-and-date, but consumers still often are forced to wait week after a DVD is released before they can get it on demand. Earlioer release will allow studios to charge more for rentals that are just out of theaters.

Industry sources say VOD views hit 350 million last year.

The ad campaign will run on television, the Internet and in print, with the catch phrase "The Video Store Just Moved In."

For more:
- see this report

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