Netflix agreed Wednesday to delay fulfilling customers’ requests for DVD and Blu-ray titles from Warner Bros. for their first 28 days on the market, bowing to studio pressure to give preference to those would would purchase the discs.
The move, reports The Associated Press, is a first for the rental company, which has 11 million subscribers. More such deals are expected with other studios this year.
The reason is simple: Warner Bros. is feeling the pinch as consumers who once had the disposable income to buy new movies as soon as they came out switch to services like Netflix and Blockbuster Online.
In return, Warner Bros. reportedly is giving Netflix a discount on their discs and allowing more titles to be viewed online by Netflix subscribers.
In an age when media piracy is already rampant, this move is bound to stir even more anger against the big studios, and Warner Bros. in particular as the trailblazer. I suspect it won’t be long before many Netflix subscribers say “That’s All, Folks!” and either turn to alternative services or, unfortunately, hoist the Jolly Roger.