Why the movies on Netflix and DStv are usually old

As video-on-demand (VOD) goes mainstream, consumers are complaining that movies on streaming services are old.

“VOD services are coming to market as a digital, more convenient version of the physical video stores of the past,” said Taryn Uhlmann, head of operations at Discover Digital.

Discover Digital is a digital entertainment and VOD services company. It is also the upstream provider for MTN’s streaming video platform VU.

Since VOD services can be seen as digital video stores, this means that each one will be subject to rights restrictions.

They will be forced to wait a certain amount of time before they may release new programming, said Uhlmann.

“A movie, for example, will usually be released to theatres first, then it becomes available for purchase online known as Electronic Sell Through (EST), followed by DVD retail, rentals, and Transactional Video on Demand (TVOD).”

A TVOD service most closely resembles physical video rental stores. Examples include iTunes, Google Play Movies, and DStv BoxOffice.

After the retail and rental window, a movie then goes to the first and second pay-rights holders, such as pay-TV or subscription VOD.

Uhlmann said movies usually go to pay TV first in South Africa.

This is followed by the second pay-rights window, where free-to-air and SVOD services get the movie.

This standard global windowing practice is illustrated in an infographic from Discover Digital, posted below. [Click to enlarge]

It should be noted that there may be exceptions when original content is involved. Services such as Netflix and Amazon produce their own films which they then distribute.

Discover Digital film journey

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Why the movies on Netflix and DStv are usually old