DirecTV to Launch Premium VOD

The satellite provider plans to start offering theatrical releases this June.


Pretty soon, you really won’t need to hit your local Cineplex. DirecTV is looking to add theatrical releases to its video-on-demand lineup — but it’s going to cost you.

The satellite service provider plans to offer movies four to six weeks after they debut in theaters and at least a month before they hit DVD and Blu-ray. Here’s the kicker: The cost will be $30 each. That’s for the rental.

This move would make DirecTV the first mainstream TV service provider to offer theatrical releases at home. It sounds perfect if certain titles aren’t available in your area. However, when Redbox is renting for a buck, do you really need to see something that badly? Then again, it’s probably cheaper than hiring a baby-sitter.

According to the Los Angeles Times, DirecTV already has deals in place with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Needless to say, theater chains are not thrilled with the plan, with Regal and AMC saying they might consider passing on titles offered through DirecTV’s premium VOD.

“We understand the problem that studios are facing when DVD sales are nosediving, but we don’t see premium VOD as any kind of solution,” Gerry Lopez, chief executive of AMC, told the Times.

Details on the service are still being worked out. For instance, there is some speculation that the $30 fee will also get you a copy of the DVD once it’s released. That could cushion some of the blow. Either way, DirecTV CEO Michael White says that the premium VOD service will start testing this summer.


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