March 23, 2009

Warner Brothers Trying Something Out [7:38 am]

Warner Bros. brings film vault into digital age (pdf)

Warner Bros. is reaching into its film vaults so it can sell old movies on made-to-order DVDs, in a move it hopes will goose sales of a vital product in a downturn.

Starting Monday, the studio will sell copies of 150 films from the silent era to the 1980s Brat Pack that have never been released on DVD. Internet downloads of the movies will cost $14.95, while DVDs sent in the mail are $19.95. Both can be ordered at http://www.warnerarchive.com.

The initiative, which Warner claims is the first of its kind for a major studio, is an effort by the Time Warner Inc. subsidiary to combat what could be a fundamental decline in demand for DVD purchases — a falloff that can be blamed on market saturation as much as the recession.

[...] Warner’s decision to open up its vault “sounds like it’s a risk-free way for them to generate a little money on some very old content,” Adams said. By making the DVDs only when the movies are ordered by a customer, Warner doesn’t have to worry about filling up a warehouse with inventory that struggles to sell.

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