Universal Pictures International (UPI) has announced long-term plans to narrow its international rental-to-retail release windows for video and DVD to between four to eight weeks. The normal international standard window between rental and retail markets stands at around four to six months.

UPI, the London-based international video distribution arm of Universal Pictures, has announced the plans in response to the changing nature of the home entertainment market as DVD penetration increases, as well as the "disparate strategies" used by other distributors.

In a statement, the company said that the strategy would stimulate the retail sector without adversely affecting the rental sector, since the shorter window means greater marketing efficiency and heightened product awareness.

UPI's first release under this pattern will be Jurassic Park III, in the first quarter of 2002.

"By releasing rental and retail so closely together, both formats will benefit from combined marketing spends," said Mary Daily, president of marketing, UPI. "Further, our extensive research shows that in almost every case, the intent to rent is always higher than the intent to purchase. We therefore see this as a win-win situation".