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Comcast wants to air recent theatrical releases on TV

by Adam Finley, posted May 8th 2007 1:41PM

movie screenWhile nothing has been solidified yet, Comcast is in talks with several Hollywood studios to have movies aired on television the same day they're released in theaters. The cable company would charge subscribers thirty to fifty dollars to watch a new release at home, which seems awfully damn expensive to me.

Naturally, theater owners aren't thrilled about this idea, since less and less people are going to the movies anyway. The times have definitely changed, and going to the movie is no longer the social event it once was. I live within walking distance of three great theaters here in Minneapolis, and while I do enjoy a matinee now and again I must admit it is much easier to just order the movies up on Netflix now that DVDs are released so quickly after the movies come out.

Meanwhile, Time-Warner is developing something called "Catch-Up," a service that will allow TV viewers to view recent episodes of shows they may have missed.

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"Catch-up" indeed. I watch more TV from Comcast's OnDemand service than from live TV.

May 09 2007 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As long as it's in HD, this is genius. I'd pay $40 or more...and charge admission.

By the way, the above scenario is why this will never happen.

May 09 2007 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's a great deal. The cost of 4 people going to the movies covers the cost. No more spending $100 for a group of friends going to the movies, just get them all around to your place for half the cost and far more convenient.

May 09 2007 at 5:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I doubt that Comcast's market research has found any evidence that a critical mass of people would pay $30-$50 for first-run movies. Yeah, SOMEbody will pay it, but that's not going to be a mass market price point.

May 08 2007 at 5:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree that $30 - $50 sounds like it's in the right ballpark. For my wife and I to see a movie it's $10 each plus 3-4 hours of a babysitter at $10/hr. That's $60 right there not even considering if we were to buy popcorn or anything else. The fact that I can sit in my home watching a 65" HDTV seeing a brand new movie at my convenience while eating my own food and drinks is a HUGE bonus. The alternative is going to see a movie and having idiots talking during the whole thing and getting a crappy seat. I think the choice is clear for me.

May 08 2007 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

When you figure the cost of tickets, parking, sitter, not to mention bad theater food, $30-$50 isn't a bad price even for a family, particularly when you have an HDTV system and don't have to worry about a projectionist running twelve different films at once who barely got out of high school (assuming of course he is out of high school), and a theater manager who figures he can save money by turning down the power to the projection lamp, while compensating by turning the sound up to 11.

May 08 2007 at 5:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

$10 a ticket, so if you have a large group it makes sense.

And if theaters want more people to go they better have better people running the place. I haven't had a good time gonig to the movies in years. Children run wild, talk through the movie, the parents are asshole, cell phones go off. It sucks.

I just wait the 3 months it takes for a DVD to come out.

May 08 2007 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a great deal, assuming you invite some friends over to watch too, or if you have a family of four. In California, first run tickets on weekends are easily $10 each, and that's without snacks, drinks, or parking/gas/transit.

Why not stay at home, have the privilege to chow down popcorn, sushi, microbrews or whatever you want from your own fridge (without the markup), and have the option to pause the movie whenever you want without missing anything? It's a beautiful thing, and $30-$50 is just the right price to make it worthwhile for four people. And if anyone talks during the movie, I can tell 'em to shut up and not feel guilty.

In one word: it'd be heaven.

May 08 2007 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I know some people who would pay the price. People who are bedridden or with conditions that prevent them from sitting for long periods of time.

My Uncle was excited/depressed about 300. Excited because he's a big Frank Miller fan, depressed because he'll have to wait till it's on DVD because his back injuries make sitting a living hell for him.

May 08 2007 at 2:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You've got to be kidding...wow. I guess the reason for the price being so high is so that people couldn't pay a theater price and bring 20 people over to watch for free, but damn...that's still crazy.

May 08 2007 at 2:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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