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  TVoD, Digital Retail , EST

Windowing strategies: The devil is in the detail

Strategies applied to movie windowing are generally thought to be well established across the industry. In the UK, and elsewhere, the windowing formula for most mainstream movies is an exclusive theatrical window, a new-release video retail window (available on digital and physical formats), leading to video catalogue and the first promotional window. 

Depending on the distributor, video titles are considered “new release” for between eight to 13 weeks after the end of the theatrical window, after which they fall into catalogue where they can be entered in to price promotions almost immediately.

Analysing 60 key new release titles from the six major US studios in the UK over the first half of 2017 indicates that for these titles the theatrical window varied a good deal. The industry wide, unwritten agreement is that theatres have a 12 to 13 week exclusive window; both NBC Universal and Sony kept average theatrical windowing very close to this at 12.2 and 11.9 weeks respectively. Other studios delayed the average video release dates, Disney extending the longest with an average of 19.6 weeks’ gap between a movie's theatrical debut and its release on home video (digital and physical).    

Tracking of product pricing across all major video platforms in the UK enables Ampere Analysis to understand the less-well documented catalogue and promotional strategies used once a film's initial hype has died down. Among the US studios Paramount moved titles into promotion on average just 11.4 weeks after they first became available for purchase. This was closely followed by NBC Universal at 13 weeks. Disney and Sony hold new release pricing for nearly 17 weeks on average, but Fox maintained new release video pricing for longest at over 18 weeks in 2017.