Tracy Bennett/Columbia Pictures
DirecTV made its premium VOD plans official on Tuesday, becoming the first pay TV service to offer early-release movies for around $30 about 60 days after their theatrical debut.
The satellite TV giant said it will launch its early release offering of films in partnership with four big studios with Sony’s Just Go With It this Thursday. The film became available for pre-order as of this morning. The service is only available to DirecTV HD DVR customers. The company has about 6 million such customers, according to a spokeswoman.
The premium VOD service, branded Home Premiere, comes in partnership with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox.
Titles will cost $29.99 and be available in the premium VOD window for two weeks, starting between midnight and 2am the day they launch. After the two weeks, they will go away and return during the regular PPV/VOD window for the regular PPV/VOD price.
A DirecTV spokeswoman said titles will be available “about two months” after theatrical release – give or take a few days. Studios will decide which titles become available to DirecTV and when exactly. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Once bought, customers can view a title for up to 48 hours - twice as long as regular PPV. Within that time frame, titles can be viewed multiple times.
Also debuting over the rest of April and May will be Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, Fox's Cedar Rapids and Warner’s Hall Pass.
A DirecTV spokeswoman said some premium VOD titles may overlap in their availability. Under its agreement with the studios, the satellite TV firm will start promoting titles a week before their launch.
The spokeswoman said a digital watermarking technology that DirecTV uses to prevent piracy has been vetted by studios, allowing it to become the first multi-channel TV provider to offer premium VOD titles.
DirecTV customers can go to channel 1100 on the company's DirecTV Cinema VOD page or the section of the programming guide that lists PPV movies to find Home Premiere titles, which come in 1080p HD and Dolby 5.0.