blind_html [Fwd: Time Warner Taps Film Archive For VOD DVDs]

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2009 13:44:16 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Time Warner Taps Film Archive For VOD DVDs
Date:   Mon, 23 Mar 2009 19:14:36 -0000
From:   Ray T. Mahorney <coffee-craver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To:     <blind-chit-chat@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

[At $20 a DVD this is priced way too high.]

MARCH 23, 2009, 12:02 P.M. ET

Time Warner Taps Film Archive

Wall Street Journal <>

As part of a plan to squeeze all it can out of its film library, Time
Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment is initiating a plan to sell
vintage movies previously unreleased on DVD directly to consumers at $19.95
apiece. The effort reflects a broader struggle among film studios to find
some way to generate fresh revenue as DVD sales continue to slump.

"Once Upon a Honeymoon," the 1942 movie with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers,
and "Possessed," the 1931 movie with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford, are
among the titles consumers can buy directly from the Web site of the Warner
Archive Collection, starting Monday.

Many of the titles were among a group the studio originally planned to
release through regular retail channels, but as retail space devoted to
DVDs declines, the studio decided to try a new approach. "This is an easy
way for us to get product to consumers that normally would not be
available," says George Feltenstein, senior vice president for theatrical
catalog marketing at Warner, who has been overseeing the project for three
years. Remastering the movies for DVD release took anywhere between a few
weeks to two years, with the older, silent films requiring the most work
because they are on highly fragile nitrate film.

To keep down costs associated with creating and warehousing DVDs, Warner
has licensed an independent company to print each DVD on demand. The
customer will get the disc by mail, complete with cover art, within five
days. Alternatively, customers can purchase a digital download of the movie
for $14.95, but Mr. Feltenstein says he expects the vast majority of orders
to be for physical DVDs.

By cutting out the middleman, Warner gets to keep the full price of the
sale, minus the cost of stamping the DVD. Normally, the wholesale prices
studios charge retailers for catalog titles run up to about $12 for DVDs
and $10 for digital copies.

DVDs have experienced declining sales in recent years. Consultancy Adams
Media Research of Carmel, Calif., expects DVD sales to total $12.8 billion
this year, down from $13.4 billion in 2008 and $14.4 billion in 2007.

Warner hopes to tap into an unfilled demand for classic titles that haven't
been available on DVD. Many titles, such as 1949's "John Loves Mary" with
Ronald Reagan and 1951's "Goodbye My Fancy" with Joan Crawford, weren't on
VHS tape either. But a few titles are available on pirate Web sites that
sell bootleg DVDs, likely made from television screenings of the movies,
giving Warner all the more incentive to cut itself in on the action.

The studio's feature-film library contains about 6,800 films, says Mr.
Feltenstein, of which only 1,200 have been released on DVD and 4,100 on VHS

He declined to say how many sales he expects this year, but acknowledges it
is a niche business. Still, with the production costs paid for long ago,
most of the revenue will go straight to Warner's bottom line. "The downside
is virtually nonexistent," he says.

The service aims squarely at the over-40 set who enjoy building up physical
collections of DVDs and will be familiar with the titles. A few titles
might appeal to younger groups, such as the 1975 action film "Doc Savage,"
which has comic-book crossover appeal.

The studio plans a small marketing campaign for the archive titles,
including slipping inserts into classic-movie DVDs sold in stores.

The service is launching with 150 titles, and will add 20 or so each month.

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