Exhibitors Angered Over Warners' Vod Plans
Warner Bros. and the Walt Disney Co. are developing plans to offer some movies via video-on-demand while they are still playing in theaters, Daily Variety reported today (Thursday). It cited comments by Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes during an earnings call on Wednesday that it will launch the premium VOD service by next summer, charging $30-$50 per film. The trade publication observed that Warner Bros. "will need a high-profile pic that either appeals to early adopters or families who don't want to make the trek to the megaplex and empty their wallets on tickets and concessions." Bewkes' comments appeared to outrage National Association of Theater Owners chief John Fithian, who said that members of his organization were surprised to read about Bewkes' comments before he discussed the plans with them. Fithian charged that such plans "could damage the entire movie industry."