A premium video-on-demand service backed by major Hollywood studios is set to launch imminently, with Home Premiere offering $30 rentals just two months after they show at theaters. According to Variety, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox new Home Premiere service will arrive on DirecTV in April 2011, while cable providers – including Comcast – are planning limited trials.
However, theater owners are unimpressed with the proposal, concerned that premium VOD will eat away at attendance figures. “These plans fundamentally alter the economic relationship between exhibitors, filmmakers and producers, and the studios taking part in this misguided venture” the National Association of Theater Owners argues, though the studios behind Home Premiere have said they will delay any titles still performing well at the box office beyond the initial 60 day period.
On the other side, DirecTV and other providers have been arguing for even shorter periods between theatrical release and on-demand access, though at least one theater chain has supposedly threatened to not to screen films should that happen. Paramount is not taking part in Home Premiere over what is believed to be concerns over potential piracy.