DirecTV wants to offer premium VOD for just-released movies

The way people consume media is changing. How to best distribute media is the challenge facing film studios and production companies. Making new movies readily (and quickly) available via Video On Demand is one way to satisfy viewers.

In recent years we’ve watched streaming content explode in popularity while more conventional avenues crumble. The companies which evolve and adapt reap the rewards, while those that drag their feet or resist the digital departure are left in the dust.

DirecTV is one company that’s decided it wants to change with the times, not play catch-up.

This summer DirecTV will poach specific films from their theatrical homes mere weeks after release and stream them directly onto subscribers’ TV sets, reports Home Media Magazine via the Los Angeles Times. The titles, culled from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. studios, would be available to rent for around $25 – $30 only weeks after they first show up in theaters.

In response to this move, theater owners are (unsurprisingly) crying foul – or at least vowing not to show films selected for Premium VOD.

Amy Miles, CEO of theater chain Regal Entertainment Group, declared to the publication, “If a film has a four-to-six-week ‘window’ to a home, we’re not going to give it screen time.” A strong stance, and one echoed by AMC chief executive Gerry Lopez.

Last year, the National Association of Theater Owners sought to protect themselves from the changing marketplace by demanding movie studios not cut VOD windows.

It’s unknown if theaters threatening a boycott on the cherry-picked movies will force studios to retract the Premium VOD green-light they’re giving satellite operators. Many speculate losing theatrical buzz by angering the big chains isn’t worth the trouble, but it’s easy to see the temptation: it’s arguably what consumers want. When movies, music and video games are at our fingertips quicker than ever before, who wants to wait four to six months for a summer blockbuster to hit Netflix?

Last month, Dish Network revealed plans to stream new film “The Resident” on the same day of its theatrical release for a limited run. Disney is also considering entering the Premium VOD arena, though reticent to commit fully.