Disney CEO Bob Iger had tons to say about the need to innovate when I spoke to him after the company's fiscal fourth quarter earnings. Under pressure from piracy and a mature DVD market Disney is throwing out the old rules and looking for new ways to grow revenue.
With upcoming "Alice in Wonderland," Disney is releasing the DVD much sooner after the movie's theatrical run than the usual window. This may not sound like a big deal, but it's a sign that the media giant is willing to break the rules the movie theater chains and retailers like Wal-Mart have played by for decades. Instead of waiting for the typical 17 weeks after the movie leaves theaters before releasing "Alice" on DVD, Disney will rush the DVD out after just about 12 weeks. The idea is to sell the home video option before the slow summer season, when the film's fresh in consumer's minds.
Iger says the industry is dealing with greater amounts of piracy, so the sooner they can get a DVD into the marketplace, the less vulnerable the film's home video option is to piracy. Bottom line: Disney's willing to experiment with DVD distribution, based on the time of year and the type of release, to best maximize home entertainment revenues. It's worth noting that Iger effectively sees piracy as competition — competition to tackle head-on with a legit option.