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New Credit Suisse Report Makes a Strong Case for PVOD Releases

Fern Siegel

A new Credit Suisse report “Not Coming to a Theater Near You: Do Theater Companies Need to Entertain a PVOD Window?” makes a strong case for PVOD releases.

Cinema owners may resist PVOD pressure, but the pandemic has decimated its business. “Unless films can shift to PVOD 30 days post theatrical while consumer awareness is still high, in the current environment we believe studios are more likely to bypass theaters with mid-tier films, whether straight to PVOD or to streaming,” writes analyst Meghan Durkin.

The report underscores the rise of streaming, given our shelter-at-home reality, notes The Hollywood Reporter. At the same time, Hollywood is looking to the future, “including building out and leveraging streaming platforms.”

Two recent VOD wins to date: “Trolls World Tour” and “Scoob!”

(“Artemis Fowl,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, was scheduled for a May 29 movie release, but will now stream on Disney+ June 12.)

The current pandemic climate has also forced theater chains to revamp strategy. Reopening theaters, even with social-distancing rules in place, doesn’t guarantee customers.

Credit Suisse’s report found that Universal and Warner Bros had a greater financial incentive for PVOD, as they are integrated with pay-TV distributors. Conversely, Disney’s blockbuster inventory is more dependent overall on theatrical releases, though that may change in the future.

The PVOD switch was also echoed by a LightShed Partners report, notes THR. Analyst Richard Greenfield wrote: “We have also seen studios look to sell off titles to third-party SVOD platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+. (Paramount’s “Lovebirds” to Netflix, Universal/Blumhouse’s “Run Sweetheart Run” to Amazon and Sony’s (“Greyhound” to Apple).”

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