The Last Picture Show? Timing and Order of Movie Distribution Channels

Thorsten Hennig-Thurau, Victor Henning, Henrik Sattler, Felix Eggers, Mark B. Houston

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Movies and other media goods are traditionally distributed across distinct sequential channels (e.g., theaters, home video, video on demand). The optimality of the currently employed timing and order of channel openings has become a matter of contentious debate among both industry experts and marketing scholars. In this article, the authors present a model of revenue generation across four sequential distribution channels, combining choice-based conjoint data with other information. Drawing on stratified random samples for three major markets-namely, the United States, Japan, and Germany-and a total of 1770 consumers, the empirical results suggest that the studios that produce motion pictures can increase their revenues by up to 16.2% through sequential distribution chain timing and order changes when applying a common distribution model for all movies in a country and that revenue-optimizing structures differ strongly among countries. Under the conditions of the study, the authors find that the simultaneous release of movies in theaters and on rental home video generates maximum revenues for movie studios in the United States but has devastating effects on other players, such as theater chains. The authors discuss different scenarios and their implications for movie studios and other industry players, and barriers for the implementation of the revenue-maximizing distribution models are critically reflected.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Marketing
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)63-83
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

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