Following through on what probably started as an epic round of double dog daring, four major studios—Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox—have agreed that charging $30 for streaming movie rentals is a pretty great business model. Not current-run movies, either! "Home Premiere," as it's being called, only includes movies that are up to two months removed from their theatrical debuts. Shut. the. front. door.
I'm trying to think of what would possibly inspire me to pay more than twice the cost of a movie ticket to watch Adam Sandler's Just Go With It—seriously, that's one of the launch titles—in June from my couch. Brain trauma? Bad quaaludes? Unconventional hostage situation? I mean, for goodness sake, that's more than it costs to buy and own most Blu-rays, which have the added consumer benefit of tons of bonus features, reliable playback, and not disappearing after two days.
And don't worry, it's not like the studios are going to be releasing movies you might actually want to watch, according to Variety:
The majors also say they wouldn't release any films via Home Premiere that are still performing well at the [box office].
The good news is, Home Premiere will only be unleashed on DirecTV's 20 million customers, although Comcast is going to give it a whirl next month in select markets. Hopefully it'll shrivel up and die before it contaminates any other VOD offerings. I'd pay $30 to watch the funeral.