"Coming soon to a theater (and home streaming device) near you."
Hollywood behemoths Sony and Disney have begun testing an unorthodox business model in South Korea: Releasing major films for on-demand home viewing shortly after their theater release, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. So far the service has been tested over the past several months on a few 2012 releases, including "Django Unchained," "Brave" and "Wreck-It Ralph."
Apart from experimenting with a new film distribution model, the move is also seen as an effort to curb piracy in South Korea, which is the world's eighth largest film market (the United States is No. 1). And with the world's fastest Internet connections by multiple accounts, South Korea is well-suited to deliver high-bandwidth content like feature films.
The model has limited precedent in the U.S. Notable examples include last month when director Shane Carruth released his new film "Upstream Colors" on iTunes and Amazon Instant only a month after the film had entered theaters. In 2006, Hollywood darling Steven Soderbergh released his film "Bubble" in theaters, on DVD and on demand on the same day.
Still, it's hard to see this model catching fire for studios in America, particularly because of the wedge it would drive between them and major theater chains, who have the most to lose if Americans stop going to movie theaters. The Journal noted that top cinema chains such Regal and AMC will not show films that don't have at least a 90-day "window" between theatrical release and home release. The rationale is that many viewers will forgo the cinema if they can watch movies at home.
For all the industry hand wringing, the film business had a record-breaking year in 2012, with $10.8 billion in tickets sold. But thanks to more video options for viewers -- among them Netflix and Redbox -- movie studios have seen U.S. sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs fall by a third in the past seven years, dropping from $10.3 billion to roughly $7 billion. For less expensive productions, such as low-budget or independent productions that see limited releases, the model is a golden opportunity to reach more viewers than a normal theatrical release would allow.
Earlier on HuffPost:
Don't Watch A Movie Without Rating It
When you finish a show or movie on Netflix, the site requests that you give it between one and five stars, based on how much you enjoyed it. You're not being asked to rate that content for kicks, or so that you can later reminisce about how much you liked a certain film: Rather, Netflix has spent many years improving its recommendation engine, even offering a $1 million prize for anyone who could up the accuracy of Netflix recommendations by 10 percent. At this point, the Netflix recommendation engine is pretty darn accurate -- it takes into account your own ratings as well as the viewing habits of those similar to you. Basically, the more films you rate, the more you're likely to enjoy a Netflix recommendation. If you constantly find yourself frustrated that there's nothing on Netflix, take a half hour or so and knock out a few hundred ratings on the "Taste Profile" section of the site, and make sure you've filled in your genre preferences, too. Finally, if Netflix persists in recommending a title that you're just never going to watch -- for me, that would be "The Lincoln Lawyer" -- remember that you can click on the "Not Interested" button on any film's homepage and it will disappear from your recommendations page while simultaneously smartening up your future recs. (For an in-depth look at the Netflix recommendation engine, and how it works, I recommend this post on Netflix's official blog.)
Don't Fly Blind
Leaning on Netflix's recommendations alone ensures that you'll discover some good flicks; if you're really committed to shaking all the leaves from the tree, however, you're going to need some backup artillery. There are several excellent extensions that you can add to your favorite browser to augment your Netflix experience and increase your chances of sniffing out a great new film. An extension like "Rotten Netflix," for example, inserts little Rotten Tomatoes scores beneath every movie poster on the website, so that you can instantly know how a movie fared with critics. Similarly, the "IMFlixDB" extension displays a movie's IMDB ranking on a white bar above the Netflix homepage and gives you quick access to that film's information page. The ever-prodigious members at Reddit use the wisdom of crowds, meanwhile, to constantly vote up streaming movies that you might otherwise miss. It's a super-active community with consistently high-quality recommendations: Check it out here.
Don't Let A Film Disappear
Another Netflix specialty website is InstantWatcher, a clean website that allows for easier movie search than you'll find on the Netflix homepage. And while many outlets toast InstantWatcher for its quick and robust search functionality, we like it because it also lists the notable films that will disappear from Netflix Instant soon. There's even a Twitter feed that does nothing but tweet out the names of soon-to-be-expired Netflix movies. There is no worse feeling, in the whole entire world, than sitting down to watch a movie you've had in your Netflix queue only to discover that the movie has disappeared. Don't let it happen to you again.
Don't Be Afraid To Quit
One of the really nice things about a Netflix subscription is that you pay month-by-month; it's not like a cell phone contract where you're locked in for two years and you have to pay an exorbitant fee if you want to get out early or cancel service. With Netflix, you can quit for one month and come back the next: Netflix will save your queue and ratings for up to two years so that if you do come back, you don't really have to start over. So, if you're taking a vacation, or studying for the LSATs, or going to prison, just cancel your account and save yourself the $8 for as long as you need. Or, if you are one of our Olympian Netflix bashers from above, go ahead and try life without the 'Flix for a month or two and see how you do. Your account information will be waiting for you when (or if) you return; and, hey, if you do, now you have plenty of new ways to find the excellent movies and TV shows you might have missed while in exile.