nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

CandW discuss if premium VOD’s time has finally come

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Trolls World Tour was a big success in its initial premium VOD (PVOD) release. But what about the long-term? Theater owners are hopping mad, and it’s not clear if consumers will still want to own the movie or buy Troll Dolls.

Chapter 1: Trolls World Tour success (1:30)

The Wall Street Journal estimates that the premium VOD release of Trolls World Tour made as much money for Universal Pictures in three weeks as the original Trolls movie did in 5 months in theaters. Universal is planning more PVOD releases. Movie theater owners are angry and threatening to ban Universal movies when theaters reopen.

Chapter 2: PVOD has been a contentious issue for a long time (6:00)

As the transactional market for films has contracted, the SVOD market has expanded. At the same time, the debate about premium VOD has grown as a way of diffusing the impact of SVOD on the movie industry. C-19 stay-at-home orders seem to have accelerated the issue. Three-quarters of consumers are interested in the idea of paying theater prices for early release in the home.

Chapter 3: When can theaters reliably deliver an audience (9:30)

Some state governors are urging theater owners to reopen, but theater owners are resisting the call. As well, it is not clear when audiences will be comfortable sitting in a theater watching a movie, particularly if they must wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

Chapter 4: How Hollywood is coping without theaters (12:20)

Some studios are entering the PVOD market with their movies. Others are releasing them through SVOD services. How long other studios can hold movies back is unclear, but they may not be able to wait for the return of the theater audience.

Chapter 5: Movie profitability is more than the initial theater run (14:00)

Much of a movie’s profitability comes from activities after it has left theaters. Disc and digital sales and rentals, merchandise sales are both important components. Some question the ability of PVOD releases to support these after-theater activities. However, the transactional market is declining, and there are other opportunities to enhance merchandise sales through digital stores.

Chapter 6: A missed opportunity to the movie industry (19:20)

In late 2017, AMC theaters floated the idea of running a PVOD movie store online for the industry. The thought was that if the industry wanted to do PVOD, theater owners should be involved. The idea went nowhere. Imagine how different the debate about PVOD would be today if the industry had embraced AMC’s idea?


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