That means it'll be four long weeks from the time 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' -- and the rest of Warners' new DVDs and Blu-rays -- hit retail and rental store shelves and the day that they show up in the mailboxes of Netflix's 11 million (and growing) members. In a major blow to Netflix junkies everywhere, Warner Bros. has struck a deal with the online DVD rental giant that will prevent Netflix subscribers from renting the latest WB releases for a full 28 days after they go on sale.
That means it'll be four long weeks from the time 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' -- and the rest of Warners' new DVDs and Blu-rays -- hit retail and rental store shelves and the day that they show up in the mailboxes of Netflix's 11 million (and growing) members.
In exchange for agreeing to the delay, Netflix will receive a better price on Warner Bros. DVDs, as well as access to a larger catalog of WB movies and TV shows to offer for online viewing.
What's behind this cruel affront to DVD-renting diehards? Money, of course. According to the L.A. Times, Warner Bros. believes that the 28-day delay will prompt consumers to run out and purchase the DVDs, rather than wait a cool month for them to turn up magically at their homes.
"The 28-day window allows us to continue making our most popular films available to Netflix subscribers while supporting our sell-through product," Warner Home Video President Ron Sanders said in a statement to the press.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos echoes the sentiment: "We have been discussing new approaches with Warner Bros. for some time now and believe we've come up with a creative solution that is a 'win-win' all around."
And Warner Bros. isn't the only movie studio thinking along those lines. With anemic DVD sales hurting studios' bottom lines, more of the major Hollywood players, including Fox and Universal, could strike similar deals with Netflix this year. And, unfortunately for Netflix members, even Harry Potter can't do anything to help.