Amazon, Warner in New Contract Dispute?

This title is currently unavailable. Our agreements with the content provider don’t allow purchases of this title at this time.

Last night, I went to redeem my digital copy of 2018’s A Star is Born on Movies Anywhere. As I often do, I checked all of my Movies Anywhere-linked retail accounts to make sure the title populated to that account and in what resolution.

Vudu: UHD and Dolby Atmos
Google Play Movies: UHD and Dolby Digital+ 5.1
FandangoNow: UHD and Dolby Digital+ 5.1

Amazon Prime Video: nothing

Granted, I’ve had this happen before, where a title will sometimes not appear for a few hours in one or more retailers, but eventually show up. Movies Anywhere even mentions in their FAQ that it can sometimes take up to 24 hours for a title to populate to all retail accounts. What was odd, though, was that I wasn’t even able to find this title available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video. I checked again this morning, and still, nothing. I began researching this, and came across a post on Amazon’s Digital and Device Forum dated January 7, 2019, where the original poster writes: “I am only going to say this once, Amazon… Put the Warner Bros. stuff BACK!” He elaborates further that several Warner Bros. titles he was considering purchasing on Prime Video were no longer available.

Interestingly, all of my Warner Bros. movies that I had redeemed or purchased prior to the beginning of the year were still in my library and available to view. However, if I logged out of my Amazon account and searched for many of those titles, if they were not currently included with an Amazon Prime membership or currently playing on HBO, then I would receive the following message:

This title is currently unavailable.
Our agreements with the content provider don’t allow purchases of this title at this time.

Warner’s next big title, Aquaman, is also a no-show as a digital pre-order (although it is available to pre-order on physical media such as Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray). I quickly surmised that Amazon and Warner must be in contract renegotiations for digital content, and it is not going as Amazon had planned. In the past, Amazon has traditionally been the more expensive retailer for digital content than its main competitors such as Vudu and iTunes, who were undercutting Amazon on several titles, and recently Amaozn has been slashing prices to be more in line with those competitors. Another big complaint regarding Amazon’s Prime Video service has been the lack of available titles in UHD for rent or purchase, Warner being one of the main omissions with regard to UHD content. The majority of available UHD content for rent or purchase on Amazon has been from Amazon Studios, Sony Pictures, and Disney. So getting UHD content from Warner could be part of the negotiation.

Unfortunately, neither side was available to comment on the matter, and regarding the lack of availability of A Star is Born, both Warner and Amazon kept referring me back to Movies Anywhere, who in turn referred me back to both entities.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

17 Comments

  1. Robert Crawford

    Amazon is in dispute with somebody at all times. I've been buying more of my discs from other vendors. I rarely stream from Amazon as I prefer other services.

    I bought the New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn DVD straight from WBShop.com

    ~Ben

  2. It’s unlikely that it is a contract dispute. In the screenshot used, WILLY WONKA was, at one time, licensed for EST/Download (Sell Through) and SVOD. The rights likely lasted 2 years and the title(s) wasn’t renewed or extended (or another SVOD / EST provider licensed the exclusive Domestic rights for another 2 year window — although that very expensive).

    Anyway, the Rights Period likely ran out with Amazon, but your EST/Download purchases shouldn’t (in theory) be affected.

  3. BobO’Link

    They shouldn't be but are… I purchased the currently airing complete seasons of Supergirl and Arrow in a pre-season sale. Right now all that's available in my account are the first 9 episodes. They've delivered *zero* new episodes since around mid-December when the "dispute" started. Anything up to that date is available as are previously purchased Warner Archive titles but that doesn't excuse non-delivery of a pre-purchased item.

    I would demand a full refund and cite "breach of contract" since Amazon has been unable to live up to their end of the agreement:

    When you buy a TV Season Pass, episodes that have already aired on TV are immediately available to watch from Your Video Library.

    New episodes are automatically added to Your Video Library as soon as possible after their original network air date (usually the following day). We'll send you an email notification when new episodes are available.

    I would also demand that the refund be back to the original form of payment, and not promo codes, since you will obviously have to purchase that season pass from Vudu, iTunes, or some other competitor. And if promo codes were used in the transactiion, Amazon should refund those, as well, since they failed to deliver.

  4. B1urmeter

    It's unlikely that it is a contract dispute. In the screenshot used, WILLY WONKA was, at one time, licensed for EST/Download (Sell Through) and SVOD. The rights likely lasted 2 years and the title(s) wasn't renewed or extended (or another SVOD / EST provider licensed the exclusive Domestic rights for another 2 year window — although that very expensive).

    Anyway, the Rights Period likely ran out with Amazon, but your EST/Download purchases shouldn't (in theory) be affected.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with SVOD (aka "Videos included with Prime membership). If you try to rent or purchase any Warner Bros title, the "This title is currently unavailable" message appears.
    View attachment 55526 View attachment 55527 View attachment 55528

  5. I noticed that last week regarding Hanna-Barbera titles on Amazon. Save for a few Scooby titles. No titles are for sale any longer. I checked big names like Flintstones, etc. None for sale anymore. A few months ago I bought some episodes of the New Fred & Barney Show since WA is dragging their feet on a dvd release and it’s never been available on iTunes and it’s not for sale any longer.

  6. Sean Thompson

    I noticed that last week regarding Hanna-Barbera titles on Amazon. Save for a few Scooby titles. No titles are for sale any longer. I checked big names like Flintstones, etc. None for sale anymore. A few months ago I bought some episodes of the New Fred & Barney Show since WA is dragging their feet on a dvd release and it’s never been available on iTunes and it’s not for sale any longer.

    This truly is a sad day for cartoon fans…

    ~Ben

  7. That makes me wonder if Amazon is also in a dispute with ABC/ESPN .. Ive seen a huge reduction in ESPN 30 for 30 physical media for sale on Amazon. 2 months ago, you could find a lot of the 30 for 30 films on DVD via amazon. Now I dont see too many

  8. John*Wells

    That makes me wonder if Amazon is also in a dispute with ABC/ESPN .. Ive seen a huge reduction in ESPN 30 for 30 physical media for sale on Amazon. 2 months ago, you could find a lot of the 30 for 30 films on DVD via amazon. Now I dont see too many

    Could Amazon finally be losing money overall on this???

    ~Ben

  9. John*Wells

    That makes me wonder if Amazon is also in a dispute with ABC/ESPN .. Ive seen a huge reduction in ESPN 30 for 30 physical media for sale on Amazon. 2 months ago, you could find a lot of the 30 for 30 films on DVD via amazon. Now I dont see too many

    Amazon and Disney have been in a dispute for years, and Disney owns ABC & ESPN.

  10. Finally, an official response from Warner Bros. Digital Support:

    Hello Todd,

    Our license agreement with Amazon has expired and WB content is no longer available on the Prime Video digital store. We will continue to work with Amazon to make our products available on their digital store, but you can find WB movies, such as a "A Star Is Born" and award-winning TV shows, such as "The Big Bang Theory," on DIRECTV, iTunes, Google PLAY, VUDU, Comcast, Verizon, FandangoNOW, Microsoft, PlayStation and other digital content services. Our fans and our customers are our number one priority, and we always aim to serve them.

    Thank you for working with us on this matter.

    Regards,

    Tori
    WB Digital Support

  11. Peter Apruzzese

    Time for Movies Anywhere to pull Warner Bros. from their service since you can't make new redemptions and watch on Amazon. So much for "Anywhere" 😉

    The wonders of digital streaming. 😛

  12. Peter Apruzzese

    Time for Movies Anywhere to pull Warner Bros. from their service since you can't make new redemptions and watch on Amazon. So much for "Anywhere" 😉

    The beauty of Movies Anywhere is that if there's a problem with one participating service, you have 2-3 other services to fall back on. I much prefer the Vudu UI to the Prime Video UI anyway.

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