There are several features as part of your SHIFT72 platform that can help you define your content availability. There are several reasons why this may need to be set up, including distributor requirements, marketing activity, or crafting a unique user experience.
The rental window is the basic rental time that a user has to watch the film. e.g., five days. The rental window is set site-wide for all films. If just the rental period is set, a user will have access to the film for five days from purchase or from when presales end.
The user rents a film that is available now and will have five days access to the film until it expires
The user rents a film in presale, and they will have five days access to the film once it becomes available
Note: If the rental period is changed, it will only affect all future rentals and not retrospectively update the expiries for any existing rentals.
Note: If a film is sold with a bundle, the Rental Window will apply across all films.
Simple 5 Day Rental Window:
Watch (Playback) Window
The watch window is also a site-wide setting. The watch window is set up to allow the user access to the film for X amount of hours once they click play. When set up with the rental period, the user will have X days to start playing the film (rental window), but when they do press play, they will only have Y hours access to the film before it expires (watch window).
Simple 5-day Rental Window + 30hour Watch Window
The watch window’s expiry will override the rental period if the user doesn't click play until the end of the rental period.
I.e., if the user rents the film for five days but does not click play until the last hour before the rental period finishes, they will have 30 hours access to the film.
A user rents a film that is available now; they then will have up to five days to click play. Once they click play, they will have 30 hours until the film expires.
Note: If the watch window configuration is changed, it will only affect future rentals and not retrospectively update the expiries for any existing rentals.
Note: If a film is sold with a bundle, the watch window will be taken from the site-wide setting. The watch window for each film rented or purchased in a bundle will start when playback commences.
The Presale Date function is set per film. If a presale date is set, the film can be purchased but not watched until that date. Once the presale date is reached, it will allow users to play the film. If the user attempts to play the content before the presale date is reached, it will show the user a countdown timer when it becomes available. Once the countdown reaches, 0 it will allow the user to play the content.
Rental Window Presales
When a user rents a presale, the same rules apply for the rental period and watch windows, however instead of the rental period starting when the user rents the film, it will start automatically when the pre-sale period ends.
I.e., the user can rent it now, but it is not available until 5 pm, September 1st. If they rent the presale, then it will give them a five-day rental from 5 pm September 1st with the same watch window functionality.
If a film is sold within a bundle, the individual film’s presale date will still apply.
Presale with a 5-day Rental Window
Note: there is no presale start date, a presale with a price set will be available for sale when a film is published. If a film has a presale date but not a price, it will not be available to the users.
Note: If a film has bonus content and is bought in presale, the bonus content becomes available from the time of purchase, not when the presale date is reached, up until the film expires.
TV Show/Season Pre-Sales
Under each TV season, you can set a presale date and time. But with each TV episode, you are able to set an ‘Available From’ date and time, as well as an Until date and time.
This means you can set a date & time users can buy the entire season without being able to watch any episodes. Users will be able to watch all episodes in the season if it is in there once the presales period has finished. Unless you set a specific date & time, each episode should allow playback and should end all playback.
Available Until Date
An ‘Until Date’ can be set per film and acts as a hard cut-off point to watching a movie instead of a regular rental period/watch window. This is used for limited screenings where you want all of your users to finish watching at a particular time. If a film is rented with an ‘Until Date’ set, then at the time of purchase, it will determine which is closer - either the regular rental period (i.e., five days) or the ‘Until Date’ - IF the ‘Until Date’ is sooner than the rental period, it will set that as the expiry of the film for the user.
If the ‘Until Date’ is after the default rental period, then the rental will act as normal (since the user will be finished watching before the ‘Until Date’). The user can watch the film anytime from the time of purchase (or from the presale end date if it’s set) up until either the expiry or the ‘Until Date’. Once the ‘Until Date’ is reached, the film will no longer be watchable (and it will cut off mid-stream if the user is still watching).
It’s important to note that if a user's rental period extends past the film’s ‘Until Date’ set, it will still not be watchable, which can be the case with invites. If you wish to invite users to watch the film, it is advised to set the expiry to the time of the ‘Until Date’ or before to avoid any confusion.
Watch windows can still be used on films with ‘Until Dates’ (which it will by default using the site-wide watch window configuration), but the ‘Until Date’ will override the end of the watch window. If a user starts watching the film 10 minutes before the ‘Until Date’, the stream will cut out midstream at that 10-minute point AND NOT allow the user the normal watch window (i.e .30 hours) to play.
5 Day Rental Window + Until Date
(please note this feature is not available for all customers. Talk to your Account Manager about getting this activated).
Fixed start and end timed screenings
If you are wanting to set up a film screening that has a fixed start and end time, you can achieve this by setting a pre-sale date and an ‘Until Date’. This means users will be able to start playback of the content until the date & time you have set and they will not be able to watch the content after the date and time you have set.