Theater Owners Launch Counteroffensive Against Studios' Premium VOD Plans

Movie theater operators have launched a counteroffensive against studios' premium video on demand plans which would allow films to be streamed in homes one or two months after their theatrical releases. 

The Los Angeles Times reports that theater owners have met with Wall Street analysts to argue against the narrowing of the theatrical "window" -- which is now typically 60 to 90 days -- and have also enlisted Hollywood creatives to back their cause.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners told the Times, "We are reaching out to the creative community and the business community because we think some of the studios are moving down a path of a bad business model. They risk losing two dimes to save one nickel."

Studios, with the exception of Paramount (whose parent company chief Sumner Redstone also controls the National Amusements theater chain), would charge anywhere between $30 and $60 for the service which they say will give them a new revenue source.

Theater owners argue that consumers will be less likely to go to the movies if they can see the same films at home shortly after they are released.

However, industry analyst James Marsh told the Times that the group that would actually use the premium VOD service was relatively insignificant to theaters' bottom line, "The potential market for someone who is going to pay $30 or more 30 days after a movie is released is a very small market."