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Time Warner Tests Day-and-Date Movies

In a move that could eventually boost video-on-demand revenue, Time Warner Cable is teaming up with its Warner Bros. corporate sister to test selling movies on-demand the same day they’re released in video stores.

Cable operators have long sought to sell pay-per-view and VOD movies during the same window that Blockbuster and other video chains rent and sell new DVD releases. But studios have resisted giving operators access to the so-called day-and-date movies out of concern that the strategy would sap DVD sales and rentals.

However, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment agreed to test the concept. Time Warner Cable’s Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio, divisions began testing day-and-date VOD movies Tuesday.

Time Warner Cable plans to charge $3.95 for movies released during the day-and-date window -- the same price it charges for other pay movies on demand.

The first Warner movies available include DeepSea3D, Happy Feet and Blood Diamond. Beginning May 22, the MSO will distribute Letters from Iwo Jima on the same day the movie is released for DVD sales.

Warner Bros. executives are expected to gauge the impact the Time Warner Cable day-and-date VOD distribution has on local DVD sales and rentals in Austin and Columbus. Time Warner Cable spokesman Justin Venech said the cable distributor doesn’t have plans to expand beyond those two markets, but it would eventually like to market day-and-date movie releases widely from Warner Bros. and other movie studios.