Do you believe that simultaneous distribution should be adopted by everyone in the movie industry?

Essay by athorn343University, Bachelor'sB+, February 2008

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Simultaneous Release is the name given to an experimental new method of making movies available to consumers. I have to say that, while I can certainly see “the big picture” (no pun intended) from both sides of the fence, I would have to say that I do not think that simultaneous release should be adopted by everyone in the industry.

The traditional model of film distribution generally starts in theaters, then pay-per-view, then home video, then pay cable networks such as HBO, and finally broadcast television. The time from beginning to end used to be around 6 months, now it’s closer to about 4 months. This traditional model is being challenged by film producers who are testing a simultaneous release (this is known as "day-and-date” releases or omni debuts). The advantage of this for the consumer is that homebodies who do not like to go out can watch the film immediately without having to go to a theater.

The film producers also save a great deal of money on advertising with day-and-date releases. (By the way, a typical film earns 50% of its revenue from home video about double what is earns from theaters.) Theater owners are very concerned about this new distribution strategy and fear it will destroy their business. As you can see, there are numerous ways to get films to the public. Theaters are only one channel of distribution.

As previously stated, traditionally movies are released first in cinemas. A DVD release follows some months later. Later still the movie is released through pay-per-view television outlets, then premium cable networks and finally network television. This staggered release schedule gives each distribution channel an exclusive "window" in which to profit from the movie.

Simultaneous releasing of a movie removes these windows: the movie is released to cinemas and...