Time Warner Cable
Traditionally, cable operators have had to wait months beyond a film's theatrical run before they're able to place it in their video-on-demand stable. Cable has long pushed to narrow that window; in 2007, Comcast
While Burke's pitch didn't persuade the studios, Time Warner Cable's now trying to sweeten the deal. Among other proposals, its plan would grant the cable multisystems operators and other outlets access to a film just 30 days after it begins its theatrical run. In exchange, this "premium video on demand" would run subscribers a hefty $20 to $30.
Hollywood hasn't made any decision on Time Warner Cable's pitch, but studios owned by Disney
Meanwhile, the National Association of Theater Owners and the theaters it represents have argued vociferously in favor of the traditional release schedules. Last winter, Disney released Alice in Wonderland a month or so early, roundly irritating many theater owners.
The battle to open (or shut) this window definitely bears watching. For interested investors with a reasonable time frame, I'd suggest a look at Comcast. Given cable operators' rapidly growing advertising revenues it could become lots more compelling as time goes on.
Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. He does welcome your questions, comments, or kibitzing. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Walt Disney and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks.The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.