Time Warner has announced that it will be releasing its movies to video on demand services and online stores such as iTunes on the same day as the DVD is released.

“Day and date” is the current buzz phrase in movies, and several of the major studios have begun to appreciate the limited gains in having specific windows of sales for their movies in the current connected world – where it is easy for people to illegally download films.

Windows of opportunity

Currently, four or five months after a theatrical release, a film is then moved onto the DVD rental and purchase market and after another window that feature becomes available for VOD services on cable and satellite and on Apple’s iTunes store.

Warner Bros – one of the biggest movie studios – have now moved to rid themselves of this arbitrary window between DVD and VOD availability after research proved that rentals dropped only fractionally and DVD sales actually went up with a more modern model.

On top of this, the margin for profit on digital downloads rather than physical discs is considerable.

“Taking a customer and moving that person over from rental-physical over moving them to VOD day-and-date is like a 60 to 70 percent margin instead of a 20 to 30,” WB chief executive Jeff Bewkes told the New York Times. “So it’s about a three-to-one trade.”

UK focus

One of the UK’s biggest VOD movie suppliers Virgin Media – who sell titles through their cable service – told TechRadar that same “day and date” releases for movies are already becoming more common.

“We have had films like Beowulf available for rental on the same day and date of the DVD release,” a spokesman told TechRadar.

“The window between the DVD going on sale and the VOD release depends on the studio.”

Sky Movies - who sell movies through their Box Office on demand service have already publicly criticised the studio windows, with director Ian Lewis insisting that changes are necessary.

It appears that at least some of the studios are coming to the same conclusion.