However, the technology did not exist years ago to put out these "lower end" movies. They were able to start doing it seven years ago, and they couldn't flood the market with hundreds of titles at once for myriad reasons, technological and financial.
I have been told by folks at WB that while streaming and downloading is growing in popularity, especially on "the coasts," the continued popularity of DVDs is much stronger than many people assume. Eventually that may change, but they aren't seeing a negative impact on the DVD market now, again in large part because collectors aren't so interested in downloading or renting to stream. I don't think the Archive would exist if it didn't make financial sense, as WB isn't a charity. And if they are making money in the last years of this business model...well, so what?
And for those who prefer to stream movies, the Archive also has Warner Archive Instant.
From my understanding, the Warner Archive Instant is where the consumer pays a monthly fee to look at the titles that are already in a queue that was set up by the Archive. The consumer is limited by what someone else thinks they want to see. Also, I believe that the consumer can only watch the titles-- the films cannot be purchased, stored online and rewatched later (streaming).
On Amazon Prime, consumers have both options-- to just watch queued up titles that are already available; and also to purchase them and own them forever (which is what a collector would do).
The reason the Warner Archive Instant site does not allow purchasing of titles is because they know that will cut into their already wobbly DVD business, and also it would stop people from looking at the same titles on Watch TCM or on-demand with cable carriers.
But people who just want to stream are going to bypass anything that has to do with discs. And people who want to make their own choices, in a more unlimited way, are not going to use the Archive Instant site. I feel this is where TCM is not really keeping up. It continues to rely on the older models, to squeeze as much out of them, until it is forced to revamp.
And the Shop TCM page on this website is a perfect example of where they're behind the times. In addition to selling discs and books, they should also have a place for people to make streaming purchases. I can't believe they haven't even started to do that yet. Watch TCM should be a component under Shop TCM, where people pay for titles they want to stream, independent of what is being broadcast on TCM during a given month.