Time Warner offers archive-on-demand

Time Warner is making a move to bypass the usual retail outlets and go direct to the consumer with a new plan to offer its complete movie back-catalogue to film fans.

The idea is simple. Warner Brothers has a back catalogue of some 6,800 feature films. Only about 1200 have been released on DVD, although about 4100 were once available on VHS video tape. What Time Warner is now doing is creating a new division which will sell DVD transfers of the old archive direct to consumers for $19.95 (or $15 for a download version).

The idea behind the scheme is to overcome the limited retail space now devoted to DVDs. The Warner Archive Collection opened its online doors for trading yesterday (March 23). Warner’s say the movies are restored versions, even though many will be monochrome releases.

Time Warner will kick the system off with 150 releases, and then add about 20 a month.