Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Paramount Signs for a Trial Run with Redbox

As my blog of August 18 pointed out, studios ignoring Redbox do so at their own risk. Yesterday's Variety bears me out with its analysis and announcement of Paramount's signing on which will point the way for the other recalcitrant studios I'm sure. Today's L.A. Times also points out that Paramount is the second major after Sony to go toward Redbox. Not coincidently perhaps it is the studio whose summer box-office this year has been the highest in the studio cycle. Patrick Goldstein, one of the most intelligent journalists writing on film these days, said in his column The Big Picture on August 18, "Studios play hardball with Redbox at their own risk They're making the same mistake the music industry did with Napster". The typical big business mentality of the studios, in trying to disallow Redbox from renting their pictures for $1, are cutting themselves off from a revenue source which the movie viewing audience is insisting on paying. Paramount will now have a 4 month trial period to see whether using Redbox decreases its sales to Walmart and if not, it will extend its agreement to five years as has already been done by Sony and Lionsgate. My guess is the other studios will soon follow Paramount's lead. My partner just returned from visiting backwoods Tennessee where the local Walmart had lines waiting to check out movies from Redbox every time he went by there over the course of 3 days. This is too lucrative a national market to ignore. The customer is always right.Universal is painting itself in a corner in its denial of this. This is particularly bad news in light of another article in yesterday's L.A. Times about David Linde and Marc Schmuger's recent slew of misses. Add to that parent company NBC's loss of Ben Silverman and poor ratings, and you will see a massive derailing of what seems to be fast becoming a dinosaur among fledgling grassroots upstarts. But all studios go through a cyclical winning and loosing period....Sydney

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