Thanks to the likes of Netflix and Hulu, most people now enjoy watching films from the comfort of their own homes. So much so, in fact, that a few companies have been looking at how viewers can watch brand new movies at home when they are still in theaters. They've found plenty of resistance to this, though, from a bevy of filmmakers. But the real reason why the likes of The Screening Room haven't been able to make any progress is because studios and theaters can't agree on when they would actually want these films to become available to watch at home.
Studios are adamant that they don't want the movies to be made available as Premium Video On Demand on the exact same day that they are released into cinemas. That's understandable, considering that the opening two weeks of a movie's release into theaters is when it makes most of its money. The likeliest outcome is that the PVOD window will emerge once the films have finished being shown in first-run theaters, but haven't yet popped up on streaming websites.
It seems more likely that Premium Video On Demand will soon become a reality. Currently the only streaming service available for films that are in cinemas is courtesy of Prima Cinema. However, it is quite a costly endeavor, as setting this up in your home costs you $35,000. Even at that point you have to splash even more cash to simply get your hands on a film, as it is $500 a movie to rent. According to Business Insider, both 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have contemplated making their movies available for $30 to rent, but only after they've had a 30 day run in theaters.
Currently, the only other Video On Demand service comes courtesy of the likes of iTunes and Amazon. They release movies around 90 days after they have been in theaters, and they're available for purchase for $14.99 or to rent for $5.99. Sean Parker's Screening Room, which has been backed by the likes of Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and J.J. Abrams, wants movies to become available for $50 during their theatrical release.
There are some other hurdles that need to be dealt with, too, especially when it comes to Screening Room. Not only are the major studios adamant that they don't want to share the money promised to them with theaters, but exhibitors don't really see too many positives in allowing films to become available as PVOD, while there are concerns about how Screening Room will avoid the films being pirated. It has already been suggested that because the studios already have a working relationship with iTunes, that's the more logical and likely destination for them once they decide to incorporate PVOD. Especially because most people already have access to it.
However, even that still seems like a long ways away, and it will continue to stay that way until they can agree on the length of the PVOD window. Until then, the theaters and multiplexes will just have to do.
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