Originally Posted by NetworkTV
Except it isn't the same thing at all.
Various editions, aside from extended or unrated editions, have the same base movie content be it the single disc edition or the BD/DVD/Digital Copy edition.
One of the big selling points of BD was both better picture and sound. This takes away a fundamental feature of the format.
Just about as bad are the Universal discs that essentially allow the studio to thumb its nose at renters by flashing a message that "this content is not available on the rental version" when you click on the special features. It's childish, like Lucy pulling the ball out from in front of Charlie Brown. I know myself, I have never bought a disc based on the special features, so it's not something that will ever get me to buy a particular movie. I buy a movie because I plan to watch the movie again, not because of some featurette. The featurette may add some value to an already good movie, but it won't ever make a bad one good enough to pay for a retail disc.
I just really think the studios are throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks, the way the music industry was with trying to put out CDs with DRM, then suing people for downloading before finally settling into bed with Apple and, later, Amazon to offer paid downloads.
It's another symptom of using the whip istead of the carrot to drive people to buy. It's never worked, yet they keep trying. They don't understand that repeating the same failed experiment isn't going to produce a different result.
There are plenty of BD's without HD Audio .. stating that it's fundamental feature implies all BD's should have it, and that's just not so ..
I, as a business person, do understand what LionsGate is doing .. and I also know that all the studios have harbored a wish for control of the rental market since the first VHS went out the door ..
Most all of this has been discussed here or in other threads .. essentially, NF / RB needs the cheapest cost possible in order to offer cheap rentals .. they don't need a fancy box and the vast majority of their customers really don't know or care what the audio encode is .. thus, in order to add value to the retail version, Lionsgate offers a disc that is not quite fully the retail version .. the PQ is still there but the mostly ignored SQ is maybe an older tech .. voila, rental version ..
With sales in a slump, 3D not the cash cow they hoped it would be, streaming still in a growth curve, it's not outrageous to see a public company try to do things to maximize shareholder satisfaction ..
Point being, NF / RB agreed to the terms, knowing full well it would not impact their rentals .. they could have flexed and said no, we want the full meal deal .. and they have a huge amount of leverage based on their percentage of the rental market .. however, the NF / RB business model runs on the lowest cost / highest churn they can eek out .. and a savings of even 2 cents per disk makes a difference ..
Making a business decision is a convoluted process that highly paid folks agonize over and examine at all angles ..