Warner Bros. has been leading the charge in delaying DVD rentals for services such as Netflix and Redbox, operating under the (most likely incorrect) assumption that by delaying consumers’ ability to rent movies, they’ll have no choice but to purchase them. The first month-long delay was put into place almost a year ago and now Warner Bros. is looking to extend that 28-day delay to 56 days. Netflix agreed to the new deal, Redbox didn’t. And with that, Redbox’s agreement with Warner Bros. is no more, meaning that the rental service can no longer purchase movies from the studio at a discounted rate and instead must pay full price through a normal retailer. On the plus side, Redbox no longer has to delay rental availability on WB’s films at all.
One of Netflix’s priorities has always been a large selection, something they protected by signing this new deal with Warner Bros. If they were to end their agreement with the studio, which seems likely had they not agreed to the new delay, it would have hurt their Instant Watch library. Like Redbox, they can go out and purchase films via retail if they absolutely have to, and while they could sustain their DVD-by-mail service this way, they can’t acquire streaming rights without dealing directly with the studio. Since Redbox doesn’t offer a streaming service, they don’t share the same concern.
I’m a fan of both companies and I respect both of their decisions. Both took a hit. Netflix users will have to wait even longer for new releases while Redbox users may see an increase in prices to offset the higher cost that the company will be paying for Warner Bros. films.