As part of the Warner's continuing effort to boost its DVD, Blu-ray, and video-on-demand business, the studio's new deal with Netflix throws up a new roadblock for people willing to wait and get the movie as part of their monthly subscription.
Beginning Feb. 1, when the new agreement goes into effect, Netflix customers won't even be able to add Warner movies to their queues until four weeks after the DVDs go on sale, a knowledgeable person not authorized to speak publicly confirmed. They would then have to wait another four weeks until Netflix starts shipping the discs.
Under the companies' previous agreement, users could add discs to their queues even before they went on sale. Warner executives apparently believed that policy made it easier for consumers to wait, confident that the discs would arrive eventually.
But now when users search for Warner's "A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas," which goes on sale Feb. 7, the Netflix website simply says the movie is not available. Consumers will have wait until March 6 to add the film to their queues and until April 3 to get it in the mail.
Warner Bros. has been on the leading edge of a group of movie studios that have taken steps to encourage consumers to buy DVDs and Blu-ray discs or rent movies via video-on-demand, transactions that are far more profitable for the studios than rentals via Netflix or Redbox.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: A shot of Netflix's web results for "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas."