DirecTV Debuts‘Home Premiere’

DirecTV was the first distributor out of
the box with Home Premiere, the new premium videoon-
demand service that off ers select movies only 60 days
after their theatrical release, but the launch was not without
controversy as the service has continued to draw the
ire of movie theaters and directors.

Home Premiere launched on April 21 on DirecTV with
the Sony Pictures movie Just Go With It. DirecTV HD-DVR
customers, a total of about 6 million subscribers, were
able to rent the Adam Sandler comedy for $29.99 for 48
hours. DirecTV did not say how many of its customers actually
rented the film.

Home Premiere has been in the works for more than
a year and is expected to attract other distributors soon.
The service makes certain movies available on demand
60 days after they are released in theaters, or roughly half
the normal VOD window of four months. Each rental is
for 48 hours, double the 24-hour period of most VOD offerings.
Other studios participating in the service are Universal
Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers.

According to DirecTV, each Home Premiere movie will
be available for two weeks, after which they will reside in
limbo until the normal VOD window kicks in. Other films
in the lineup for the satellite giant include The Adjustment
(Universal), Cedar Rapids (20th Century Fox) and
Hall Pass (Warner Bros.), which will be available in April
and May. DirecTV said each Home Premiere movie will
be available for about two weeks. DirecTV already offers
about 6,000 titles on demand through its DirecTV Cinema

While the jury is still out on the success or failure of
Home Premiere, nearly a dozen prominent film directors
have joined hands with the National Association of Theater
Owners against the project.

Theater owners have long objected to premium VOD’s
compressed windows, claiming they would cut into
their box office receipts. Last Wednesday, a day before
the Home Premiere launch, 23 prominent film makers
— including directors James Cameron, Peter Jackson
and Robert Zemeckis — urged movie studios to reconsider
participating in Home Premiere.