Amazon halts preorders of Warner Bros. Blu-rays & DVDs in latest contract dispute

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited October 2014
Amazon has continued to refuse sales of certain products in its efforts to gain leverage in negotiations with content providers, this time blocking preorders of physical copies of popular upcoming releases from Warner Home Video, including blockbuster hits "The Lego Movie" and "300: Rise of an Empire."




As of Wednesday, Blu-ray and DVD copies of a number of Warner Bros. films cannot be preordered at Amazon's site, where users are invited to sign up for an email alert when the item becomes available. Digital copies of titles like "The Lego Movie," which is currently one of the top digital home releases in the U.S., remain available for purchase through the Amazon Instant Video service.

The lack of preorders have apparently been prompted by ongoing negotiations with Warner Bros., according to The New York Times, who revealed that Amazon has been declining preorders for Time Warner movies since mid-May.

The spotlight on Amazon's approach with Time Warner comes in the midst of the online retailer's high-profile negotiations with bookseller Hachette. Like in the Warner Bros. dispute, Amazon has been blocking preorders of popular titles from Hachette, but has also gone one step further and even delayed delivery of new purchases from the publisher. Similar tactics have been used by Amazon to gain leverage with Germany's Bonnier Media Group.

The Amazon-Hachette dispute has been under particular scrutiny as Amazon dominates the e-book market while competitors such as Apple are looking to gain ground. But Apple suffered a serious setback last year when it was successfully sued by the U.S. government for conspiring with book publishers to raise e-book prices. Apple has formally appealed the ruling.




Apple led the charge in convincing publishers to switch to a so-called "agency" pricing model. That prevented content owners from being able to sell the same titles at a lower price elsewhere, without offering the same price on Apple's iBooks platform -- a "most favored nations" clause.

In contrast, the e-book industry prior to the launch of the first iPad was under the "wholesale model" preferred by Amazon. In that model, resellers such as Amazon had the power to set prices, selling titles at or below cost if they chose to do so.

Like in the e-book market, Amazon and Apple also compete in sales of other digital content, including movies. Hit recent Warner Bros. titles including "The Lego Movie" and "300: Rise of an Empire" are also sold through Apple's iTunes Store without any issue, though Apple does not sell physical copies of media like Amazon.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 72
    copelandcopeland Posts: 298member
    Amazon at work, fighting for the best price for the consumer!
    /s
  • Reply 2 of 72
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,432member
    This is bad for consumers, certainly. As a Prime member, I love paying $100 a year so Amazon can tell me I can't order certain things at all.
  • Reply 3 of 72
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,807member
    Everything but Amazon is awesome!

    DOJ to investigate Apple. Amazon is just doing business.
  • Reply 4 of 72
    samiamsamiam Posts: 27member
    So Apple gets slapped around for trying to break open Amazon's monopoly. Now Amazon is using that monopoly to control market pricing and availability and the government looks the other way. Have I got it right?
  • Reply 5 of 72
    snailersnailer Posts: 51member
    What's a Blu-ray?
  • Reply 6 of 72
    What happened to consumerism? You know where if the consumer thinks the price is too high, we don't buy it. Amazon is abusing their position, period. Why don't they spend their efforts inventing great stuff or looking at cutting their expenses and lowering their price margin. It's okay for them to do this but Apple is found guilty. Something stinks here!
  • Reply 7 of 72
    freshh20freshh20 Posts: 20member

    This is what happens when courts are not as impartial as they should be. Courts also need over site to be able to see the bigger picture. When the govt went after Apple could it have been because they could not get the tax they wanted. Now we see how that action is hurting the very people  the govt was supposedly protecting. Do you hear anything that the govt is looking into the Amazon practices? Only time will tell. Unbind Apple and you will see Amazon retract its actions when they have real competition again.

  • Reply 8 of 72
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,301member

    People need to chill out, if the movie is seriously popular people will simply buy it elsewhere. Lot's of choices out there people, vote with your wallets and buy from another source.

     

    Amazon will soon fall in line.

  • Reply 9 of 72
    "What's a Blu-ray?" -snailer

    It's a media format for digital video distribution that doesn't suffer horrible visual artifacts (macro-blocking) from aggressive video compression.
  • Reply 10 of 72
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  • Reply 11 of 72
    ronmgronmg Posts: 163member
    LOL, you guys are all forgetting an important item - Amazon doesn't make any money!! Apple is freaking loaded, while Amazon hasn't made money yet. This is why Apple gets slapped around and Amazon can do what it does.

    From a NY Times article dated Oct 24, 2013...

    "SAN FRANCISCO %u2014 Amazon%u2019s third quarter followed a familiar script: it sold vast quantities of things, lost money while doing so, and investors were delighted.

    Revenue was $17.09 billion, the company said on Thursday, up 24 percent and about $400 million more than analysts predicted. But all that volume could not yield a profit. Amazon lost 9 cents a share, or $41 million, just as it had anticipated.

    Investors broke out the Champagne. In after-hours trading, the stock was up $29, or 8 percent, to $361. The stock is up nearly tenfold since 2008.

    Amazon is the subject of an increasingly bitter debate about whether all of its investing in warehouses and new ventures will ever lead to solid profits. The bulls think the company is building an unassailable position as the most important retailer in the country. The bears point to things like this week%u2019s increase in the free shipping minimum to $35 from $25 as signs that Amazon must one day focus on the bottom line.

    The results will nevertheless raise expectations for the fourth quarter. Amazon said sales might rise as little as 10 percent or as much as 25 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2012. And it warned it might once again lose money.

    'Amazon is the teacher%u2019s pet of Wall Street,' said Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst with Forrester Research. 'There is no other company in the entire world that has the consistently abominable rate of profitability they do and yet has the stratospheric valuation they do.'%u201D
  • Reply 12 of 72
    longpathlongpath Posts: 339member
    Monopolies exist only where force is initiated, either directly or by proxy, to create barriers to market entry. That the DOJ attacked Apple when attempting to enter a dominated market is but one example.
  • Reply 13 of 72
    Amazon has the best interest of the consumer at heart. But they act the role of the monopolist. Not too different from what Walmart does when they demand the lowest price in order to carry a product. There are two differences however. Walmart has effective competitors. Walmart doesn't give the impression that they want to be the only supplier.
  • Reply 14 of 72
    The publishers should all just pull out of Amazon. That way as an industry they can stick it to them. Amazon's tune will change very quickly.
  • Reply 15 of 72
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post



    This is bad for consumers, certainly. As a Prime member, I love paying $100 a year so Amazon can tell me I can't order certain things at all.

     

    Perhaps a class action lawsuit is in order? 

  • Reply 16 of 72
    samiam wrote: »
    So Apple gets slapped around for trying to break open Amazon's monopoly. Now Amazon is using that monopoly to control market pricing and availability and the government looks the other way. Have I got it right?

    Bromwich is working hard and getting paid like a prince to make sure nobody can get in Amazon's way.
  • Reply 17 of 72
    dannshdannsh Posts: 24member
    I agree with saarek. I dropped my Prime membership when Amazon raised the price. I did some analysis of prices (shipping and cost) and found that the Amazon increase would not save me money for the number of times I order from Amazon. I now buy locally if possible.
  • Reply 18 of 72
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,328member
    sdw2001 wrote: »
    This is bad for consumers, certainly. As a Prime member, I love paying $100 a year so Amazon can tell me I can't order certain things at all.
    there's nothing stopping you ordering it once it has been released. Just no ability to pre - order.
  • Reply 19 of 72
    "What's a Blu-ray?" -snailer

    It's a media format for digital video distribution that doesn't suffer horrible visual artifacts (macro-blocking) from aggressive video compression.

    Or it doesn't suffer from aggressive downrezzing due to "network congestion" or "can't play this title right now try again later or play a different title" errors. :)
  • Reply 20 of 72
    trobertstroberts Posts: 702member
    Warner Brothers has an online store where they can sell their products so they should just tell Amazon to renew the current contract or stop selling Warner Brothers merchandise.

    I get it is easier for people to do one-stop shopping, especially where remembering username and passwords are concerned, but does Warner Brothers really need Amazon? Is Amazon really needed to get a version that can be viewed on the Kindle, or can you sync any video to your kindle? Is "UltraViolet" the format used for syncing content between devices?
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