Open Up The First Release Window?

The concept of structured releases has at one time or another driven every type of media. Books were once released first in hardcover, later in paperback. Music was released as singles and as albums. Movies released to cinemas and later to home. Most of these windows have collapsed, providing benefits to the consumer, but with little or no benefit to the industry itself. With full awareness of the failures of others, the cinema industry has successfully maintained exclusivity in the first release window for motion pictures. But as the industry faces issues related to changing consumer behaviors, the subject of exclusivity has become a target for outsiders, who see an opportunity to profit from in-home viewing. This trend was highlighted this past month by the very public announcement of Sean Parker’s Screening Room, which has generated no end of controversy (best captured by this Deadline article).

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