Paramount extends quick-release deal with Redbox; others hold out

Paramount Pictures is extending a deal through 2014 with Redbox to provide its movies on the same day they go on sale. The deal won't do anything for your pocketbook at the $1-per-night kiosk rental, but may mean faster access to Paramount titles than for those of other studios, which generally release their movies for rental 28 days after their DVDs go on sale.

The move should put Paramount's new films at the top of any movie fan's rental list, since the studio isn't worried that renting its DVD's from Redbox will hurt sales.

Warner Bros, Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox are holding out, having all signed deals with Redbox to block rentals of their DVDs until four weeks after they go on sale. Those three also have 28-day restrictions with Netflix.Redbox signed a deal in February with Warner Bros. for the 28-day embargo, rather than go to court after Redbox sued the studio. The deal with Warner Bros. expires at the end of next year, when the studio will hopefully come aboard with Paramount and allow immediate rental of its movies.

The DVD is slowly dying, and movie studios are trying to use the embargo as an inducement to buy their new movies instead of waiting 28 days to rent them. Dennis Maguire, president of Paramount Home Entertainment, told The Los Angeles Times that "there hasn't been a cannibalization of DVD sales from Redbox," and that the deal allows the studio to make more money than it would if the rental window were delayed. Sony Pictures had previously signed a similar deal with Redbox.

Stopping someone from renting a movie, as Paramount found out, doesn't necessarily lead to them buying the DVD. Score one for the consumer on this move. Let's hope other studios follow suit.
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