A couple of weeks ago having ascertained The Thing prequel won't be available, a title I wouldn't necessarily want to buy, I shot off an email to Universal itself asking the big question. They sent me this statement:
Dear Mr Burns,To which I replied:
Many thanks for your email.
Universal Pictures (UK) Limited is committed to producing and distributing high quality content for the viewing pleasure of as many UK consumers as possible. Films are very expensive to produce and represent a huge investment for studios. As a business, we are obliged to earn a reasonable commercial return on the value of our content. Whilst there are many new rental models in the market, some of these do not operate to provide a viable return on our investment. In those instances, Universal new release product is not available to consumers via these outlets, until we can agree mutually satisfactory trading terms.
Please note, however, that Blockbuster online have agreed terms with us and our product is therefore available to rent on their site. In addition there are various other retail outlets, both physical and online, where you are able to rent or purchase Universal product.
We hope you are able to continue to enjoy Universal's product and would thank you again for your email.
"I would ask, in reply, in that case why every other major distributor has agreed to Lovefilm's terms, even if admittedly 20th Century Fox have agreed that only dvd copies have been supplied. I would also add that since I can no longer make it to the cinema and Lovefilm is the only rental service I can afford, I have been unable to enjoy any of Universal's product (especially the likes of Paul or The American) over the past few years and I'm not the only person who's in this situation."No reply was forthcoming. I've also not had a reply from Lovefilm who I also emailed asking which of Universal's terms they wouldn't agree to and to speculate on what Blockbuster are doing right.
If it's simply that Universal have signed an exclusivity deal with Blockbuster they should say that. Not that it can be that because it seems, as they suggest in their email, that they've signed with everyone but Lovefilm.
This is a bit of a first world problem I know, but I do wonder what the tipping point would be, how many customers would have to complain before Universal and Lovefilm start negotiating again and this could be sorted out. Please.