DirecTV launches a strike at the fi lm industry

By Adriene Moore |Staff Writer|

DirecTV just might be turning a movie night at home into the next best thing in entertainment.

The satellite-based multimedia company’s latest stunt will allow customers to purchase a movie on-demand 60 days after it is released in theatres and watch it in the comfort of their own home.

The first film that DirecTV has released is Adam Sandler’s “Just Go With It”. The customer will be able to watch the film for a period of 48 hours for only $29.99.

“You can watch the Adam Sandler movie, a movie that opened about 60 days ago,” said Kim Masters, editor-at-large for the Hollywood Reporter in an interview with National Public Radio, “That is shorter than the window that is usually now preserved for movie theatres to play films.”

Masters told National Public Radio that DirecTV is making this drastic move to make up for lost revenue in DVD sales.

“DVD sales have been hurt by the recession and things like Netflix and Redbox, where you can see movies if you wait a little longer, quite cheaply,” said Masters, “So they are looking for ways to get more money. And one of the ways they want to do it is to see how much you’ll pay to see movies and how quickly you want to see them if you’re going to pay that extra money.”

This new feature creates a fun new option for movie lovers who are looking for every reason to save cash, but it also creates a problem for theatre owners and filmmakers themselves.

It’s no secret that many filmmakers and directors, including big time Hollywood directors James Cameron and Michael Bay, are against the new on-demand feature.

They were only two of the 23 filmmakers, directors and artists that signed an open letter expressing their concerns and opinions of DirecTV’s new service.

“Major studios are struggling to replace the revenue lost by the declining value of DVD transactions,” stated the letter, “Low-cost rentals and subscriptions are undermining higher priced DVD sales and rentals. But the problem of declining revenue in home video will not be solved by importing into the theatrical window a distributions model that cannibalizes theatrical ticket sales.”

Todd Phillips, director of the 2009 comedy “The Hangover” and one of the filmmakers who signed the open letter, told a group of theatre owners that if he wanted to make movies for TV, he would’ve been a television director.

Despite the outcry from filmmakers and directors, students here at CSUSB seem to welcome DirecTV’s bold new service.

“If I was going to the movies with a group of people, I’d rather stay in the comfort of my home and watch the movie there,” said student Michael Slater when asked if he would participate in DirecTV’s premium on demand service.

“I’d also have to have a home theatre,” added Slater.

As filmmakers fear the end of the theater experience, more movie goers are looking for cheaper alternatives. By unveiling this new service, DirecTV seems ready to give it to them.





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