Los Angeles -- The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) took out full page ads in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter today to make clear its position on the prospect of an early-to-the-home premium high definition Video on Demand window. Recent speculation in the press about the timing and pricing of such a window in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission grant of a waiver allowing the use of Selectable Output Control prompted the association to make a public statement, which was approved by NATO's Executive Board of Directors on June 14.
The ads stated, in part, "While individual theater companies must and will make decisions about release window changes in their own company's interest, three things are essential as our industry evolves:
• Public negotiation creates confusion and bad blood between partners. We are keenly aware of the irony in using the media to call for an end to negotiating through the media, but the point is no less valid. Recent trial balloons and public statements regarding possible windows and price points are harmful to the industry.
• No surprises. Exhibitors cannot be blind-sided by unusually short windows after they have already booked and begun playing a movie in their theaters.
• A seat at the table. The release window on a movie is as important a consideration to exhibitors as any other element of booking a movie. Whatever changes the studios seek to make to their release window models, it is absolutely essential that theater owners be fully involved."