Edward Jay Epstein, brilliant as usual

In Slate, Edward Jay Epstein takes another look at the growing tension between studios and exhibitors, calling Bob Iger’s suggestion that there might come a time when movies are released simultaneously on DVD and theatrically “Iger’s fatwa.” He also reveals this rather interesting piece of business news: (Or at least he reveals it to me, and I can’t find a mention of it anywhere else. Is this a scoop or have I just missed it?)

Disney is currently considering a stunning proposal from Brian Roberts at Comcast that could reshape the entire windowing system. Roberts’ company is the world’s largest cable operation, and he wants to run Disney’s hit television programs, such as Desperate Housewives, Lost, and Grey’s Anatomy, on his cable system just 24 hours after they play on Disney’s ABC network. Comcast’s 21.5 million subscribers would be able to view these programs on demand without commercial advertising. Roberts would also like to add movies to the service, a gambit that would quickly undermine all the existing separations, or windows, in the entertainment economy. For Roberts, Disney’s hits would give him an edge in competing for subscribers with Rupert Murdoch’s satellite TV empire. For Iger, the huge amounts of money Disney would receive from Comcast for each episode, which could be as much as $500,000, would go directly to its bottom line.

Whoa. Anyway, as always with Edward Jay Epstein, you really should read the whole column. How come I never hear anyone in Hollywood talking about this guy? Oh, right, because I never leave my apartment.