Australia Closes DVD, VOD Day and Date Windows

"Get Him To The Greek" Makes First Debut Under New Agreement Wednesday

SYDNEY -- The window between DVD and pay-per view releases is closing here after Australia’s dominant pay TV provider Foxtel said Tuesday it had secured deals for same day as DVD releases for first-run movies from studios including Universal and Disney.  

Foxtel has inked day and date releases with Universal Studios for all its titles in November and December, starting with Get Him To The Greek on November 3, while a similar deal with Warner Bros. for same day as DVD rights to Christopher Nolan’s Inception will make that title available to Foxtel subscribers on December 8. 

Disney will make A Christmas Carol and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, available same day as DVD on November 24 and January 12, respectively.

“The ever-changing consumer habits and the ways that our audiences enjoy Disney content is top-of-mind when we plan our release schedules. The availability of two of our key titles on the same day across multiple platforms demonstrates our commitment to explore new ways to bring great stories to be enjoyed at home or on-the-go,” said Sonia Bijelic, Disne’s head of studio marketing in Australia said. 

Foxtel’s executive director of product and sales, Patrick Delany told The Hollywood Reporter the deals announced Tuesday were the “start of the waves that will roll in on day and date releases.” 

Delany predicted that in most major markets, the windows between DVD and pay-per-view releases will drop on the majority of titles. 

“2011 will be a key year,’ Delany said. Broadcasters like Foxtel were driving that change he said. 

Foxtel also said a number of other titles set for DVD release over the upcoming Australian summer will be fast tracked from their cinema releases including titles such as Knight and Day and Marmaduke from Twentieth Century Fox, while Roadshow Television will test early release windows with Killers and The Expendables in December. 

The paynet is also working towards screening the first new release 3D video-on-demand movie for Foxtel subscribers with 3D-capable set tops and TV’s early in the New Year.

Foxtel has over 1.6 million subscribers with one million of those with Foxtel iQ set-tops providing pay per view and on demand movies. 850,000 of those have both broadcast and broadband delivery.

Subscriber growth at Foxtel has plateaued, growing just 3% in the 12 months to June 30 as the paynet faces increased competition from new digital terrestrial multichannels and IPTV providers including FetchTV and Tivo’s Australian sister company Caspa On demand. Its unclear if the new studio agreements also apply to those providers. 

Foxtel has pay-per-view deals with studios including Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, The Walt Disney Company, MGM, Paramount, Roadshow Television, Sony and Warner Bros and a range of independent movie distributors.