Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Party's Over (or has it just begun?): Warner Instant dumps scores of titles

I have been an enthusiastic supporter of Warner Archive Instant since I added it last year, but part of me has always dreaded the inevitable onset of "churn," the dumping of titles from the service because--well, just because, I guess. It's not as if Warner Brothers has deals with itself that make the titles expire automatically. No, they are just pulling movies because they can. Maybe they want to continue to encourage DVD sales by establishing that a title's presence on streaming is not permanent.

Hopefully the movies will rotate back in, but I am a little disappointed because, as a Roku user, I had no idea that anything was leaving until I happened to log on to the website and saw a Leaving Soon category. Even then, it was pretty vague; there were 200 or so movies listed with no expiration dates. The next week, many of those, but not all, were gone. There is no specific info on when the rest will be leaving.

I should add that since the beginning of the year, Warner has really picked up the pace on adding new material to Instant Archive. Each week brings dozens of new and exciting movies, and I'm still impressed with the selection.

The lesson here is that on any Streaming Video on Demand service, you had better watch what you want to watch as soon as you can. For a while, though. Warner Archive Instant was not just "any" SVOD channel. It was different. It added something almost every Friday, and nothing ever went away. Too good to be true? Yeah, I suppose. But I still felt a loss of innocence when I saw that a few dozen movies I hadn't gotten to were no longer there.

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