Groundbreaking, revolutionary, and fully thought out idea that can't possibly have any drawbacks (tm):
Would it help or hurt Stern to keep a "big picture" production schedule available "as is" to the public? If everyone accepts that it's inevitable/likely that the schedule will periodically change and things will get delayed, isn't it better to make sure all your consumers and distributors have the same information?
As for unannounced titles that might be on that schedule, it's not exactly a secret that they're working on new machines we don't know about. Their release schedule is also somewhat predictable anyway.
- If I see that Deadpool premiums aren't going to be run until, say, August 2022, I might ask my distributor to put me on a list now so I can start socking away the $$ for it.
- If I've got a pocket full of cash and I'm feeling squirrely, and I just so happen to notice there's a big run of Godzilla's in a few weeks, that might give me a kick in the pants to start asking around for distributors with available allocation. Without that production schedule knowledge, would I still make that impulse buy?
I get that Stern is already sold out far in advance regardless of what consumers know about their schedule, so this is likely of zero benefit to them.. but why keep that information back for distributors only?
EDIT: Maybe a suggestion for the customer-focused distributor... create a mailing list for folks to subscribe to where you only send out production schedule news/updates. Then you don't have to field questions from every individual who emails you asking for the latest news. Everyone wins!