Wednesday Links: Redbox, Netflix, Ebert, and ‘Alice’ DVD

Another round of links, including several that will likely find their way into a longer article I’m writing on new DVD distribution models:

  • The effect of Redbox has been widely discussed for months, with some observers making the claim that the DVD kiosk service may cost Hollywood over a billion dollars.  Some studios have responded by  preventing Redbox from renting some new releases until they have been available for sale for thirty days.  As a result, according to the Inside Redbox blog, Redbox is saying that “a 30-day block on new release titles could cost the Redbox up to 50% of its revenue.”  Some interesting discussion in the comments, including a few people challenging the whole concept of a “new release.”
  • On a related note, Edward Jay Epstein has a thoughtful analysis of the Netflix business model, noting that because the First Sale Doctrine doesn’t apply to digital rights, the company has to pay far more to provide streaming access to new release films from the studios.
  • Esquire has an amazing profile of film critic Roger Ebert and how he has experienced the loss of his ability to speak as well as chnages in his review practices as a result of social media.  Ebert is one of the few celebrities I follow on Twitter because his tweets always seem substantial, even when I disagree with them.  Some powerful anecdotes, including an account of Ebert listening to Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” from his hospital bed.
  • Ebert himself interviewed Up in the Air director Jason Reitman, who spent some time discussing the awards campaign process (he claims to see Kathryn Bigelow and James Cameron on a daily basis at awards show events) before talking about the ways in which blogs, which often place so much emphasis on the urgency of the scoop, have changed film journalism.
  • I still haven’t had time to watch the PBS documentary Digital Nation yet, but Douglas Rushkoff, who was involved with the film’s production, mentions that there is now an online forum where viewers can discuss issues related to the film.
  • Patrick Goldstein addresses the controversy over Disney’s decision to release the Alice in Wonderland DVD a scant thirteen weeks after the film appears in theaters.  Needless to say, theater owners are claiming they will be “killed” if this happens.  Although theater owners are making “doomsday” predictions, I think Goldstein is basically right to suggest that it’s impossible to predict whether narrowing the current four-month window will have any significant effect on box office simply because each film will be different.
  • Speaking of Redbox, there are rumors that the site is considering a move toward a number of different digital platforms including SD cards, USB drives, and portable media players.


  1. Web Design Richardson Said,

    February 17, 2010 @ 3:30 pm

    I have to agree this really make red box undervalued. Did anyone consider the fact that most good movies are check out for quite some time and are hard to get unless you get it on the day it comes out. Anyway I would recommend the movie companies stop beating themselves up. If a movie is really good then people will buy it if not they rent it.


  2. Nathan Wrann Said,

    February 17, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

    Great links.

    As someone that does a lot of research and investigating into the “new distribution models” I’m really looking forward to your longer article.

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