Google today announced that it is adding nearly 500 Paramount movies for transactional video-on-demand on Google Play and YouTube over the next several months. The rentals will be available to consumers in the U.S. and Canada.
Google now has content-sharing deals with five of the six major studios (20th Century Fox is the lone holdout), and 10 independent studios (Washington Post)
The rental pricing is comparable to most rentals on Google Play – $3.99 for new releases and $2.99 for most catalog titles, with an added $1 premium for HD content. Â Once rented, movies can be watched once for a 24-hour window over a 30-day period.
Google Play (previously known as Android Market) lets users buy or rent movies, music and books for download to Android-based portable devices and the TV.
It used to be that we all had the "Discovery" experience in Blockbuster (going to rent a video, expecting a 15-minute trip and spending an hour combing the walls of the store looking for something to watch). Then, DVD sell-thru became VERY affordable. So affordable that not only were the big releases being sold by Wal-mart, Target and Bestbuy below their wholesale pricing (losing money to drive traffic to their stores), but as the DVD industry matured, cheaper back-catalog titles became available in the check-out aisles of grocery stores. Spending $5, $7 or even $10 for a title to have forever seemed like a bargain compared to the time suck of the trip to Blockbuster combined with its late fees. More importantly, buying a cheap title to watch when it was a slow night in the near future was a perhaps a better alternative then cable TV. For years HBO filled this need--a subscription movie service that allowed you to essentially turn on the TV and watch something "good" when you had time on your hands for entertainment.
Next physical Netflix started to make a serious dent in all of this--but it only worked for those people who had patience and essentially replaced the new release for those willing to wait and the back catalog for those who planned ahead and always had a title around to watch. I think this is the first time consumers had an alternative to the timesuck/late fee experience to watch new movies and to the "what's on HBO?" experience (despite all of us having DVR's, but not having the foresight to use them to solve this problem).
Then we had a step change improvement -- rental went digital thru iTunes, Vudu, Amazon, and Xbox. Now, the "Discovery" process happened in your living room. There was some initial disappointment with titles only available on certain services and sometimes later than the physical DVD rental and sell-thru date. The fact that the studios made more money per rental (improving their share from 25-65% on average) hastened the demise of Blockbuster nearly overnight and brought digital rental day and date with physical rental and often sell-thru.
Then Netflix dropped the boom and started a digital subscription (SVOD) service. In theory, this was no different than HBO--you had a bouquet of content that you didn't really understand and had no guarantees on what would be in there tomorrow, but instead of setting your DVR or waiting until the next movie started, you could now actually search/discover and watch "something" instantly. And cheaply. Cheaper in fact than HBO.
Consumers voted with their feet/pocket books and Netflix grew their subscribers at an alarming rate, threatening even the mighty HBO.
Not surprisingly, the physical sell-thru rate started dropping quickly. Consumers now had a better rental experience either in Netflix or digitally and had a digital subscription video service that replaced the "what do I watch when I am bored" scenario.
Studios wanted and needed sell-thru, digital or physical, to regain its previous levels (while their share is similar with digital rental, the gross sales on sell-thru 3-5x higher). But how? Digital purchasing meant you acquired a title on a single device (your Vudu box, your PC) and at the time the concept of cloud ownership was non-existant (even with the mighty Apple).
What consumers needed was confidence that they could buy something digitally and have it on any of their devices when and where they wanted it.
The industry launched the concept of an industry-supported digital locker service in 2008 (then called DECE), but like all industry initiatives, it languished under the weight of its own support. The 75 initial members pulled it in many directions and then suddenly with Microsoft and Sony clearly at the helm, Apple refused to join. The battle lines had been drawn and the law abiding consumer suffered (and digital pirates continued to flourish).
Now as scant 4 years later, Ultra Violet has launched (the industry's answer to a consumer digital locker). But there are serious challenges to drive consumer adoption:
1. The experience isn't consumer-centric. You don't have the same experience movie to movie (same offer) or retailer to retailer (different sign-up processes, different viewing process).
2. In four years, Apple has launched and owns the tablet segment, probably where most digital movies and TV that are owned are viewed BY FAR.
3. Netflix has used the 4 years to cement a 20m strong subscriber base, offering unlimited movies for less than the purchase of a single new release.
4. The "connected TV" promise has become a confusing wasteland of technical solutions that make Apple all that more appealing.
And now, Wal-mart / Vudu wants to help you convert your physical library to digital with a hefty fee--and most of the physical titles you own you probably also have access to on Netflix. What to do?
While in my previous blog, I described the time vs. money trade-off of the legal conversion option, the other challenge is the easy access to a large library in which content is likely but not guaranteed to be there tomorrow vs. the cost (and hassle) of converting those titles to UltraViolet and Vudu.
My guess is that of the 400+ titles I have at home, probably 3/4 of them are available on Netflix. The other 25% are going to have issues with availability (Disney, other smaller studios) or won't pass the rental option test (ie if I am truly only going to watch that title once in a long while, is a $4 rental a better option at the point of viewing vs. a $2-5 investment for a title I may not watch for some time).
If consumers think all this thru while thinking about what the Wal-mart experience may be like (and that they likely can't view these titles on their iPad while traveling), my guess is that this will not take off very quickly.
I will try it myself on April 16th and let you know how it goes.
As for the other burning question, "How can the studios improve digital sell-thru"? That's an easy list to create but hard for them to accomplish:
1. Make the UltraViolet offer consistent on every title (streaming, download, HD for the right price, viewable on an iPad).
2. Make it easier to register the UltraViolet copy (should be as seamless as my Blu-ray player detecting it and marking my digital locker appropriately).
3. Make the iTunes digital copy work with Ultraviolet (for a small fee).
4. Like iTunes, let me purchase UltraViolet digital only titles (Paramount started this late last year).
5. Provide an incentive for me to convert my physical library that counters that hassle and the Netflix inertia.
If the studios can't do these things in the near term, I predict that a "Seamless" 2nd screen app (Fanhattan, M-GO, BuddyTV) will come along shortly that will "catalog" my digital collection and combine that with the sources of subscription and rental services, and further combine that with my Cable/Telco/Satellite provider program line-up and a slick recommendation / Discovery engine (DigitalSmiths) that includes my social network "likes', and consumers will have the tools to reduce their "purchase" of physical and digital content to only what they need, when they need it...this is a race that Discovery, Social networks, and 2nd Screen might just win.
Summit Entertainmentâs âSource Codeâ will debut via video-on-demand and electronic sell-through nearly three weeks ahead of the sci-fi thrillerâs release on Blu-ray, in what the studio characterized as a test of a new home entertainment release pattern.
The film, which premiered in theaters April 1, will see VOD and EST release on July 8, followed by a disc release July 26. As The Wrap points out, the three-month span between the filmâs theatrical premiere and home entertainment release is closer to studiosâ conventional scheduling practices, and roughly one month longer than the window that several major studios have eyed for so-called âpremium VODâ releases.
An average of 38 million set-top boxes per month accessed video-on-demand content in 2010, an 11% increase over 2009, according to research firm Rentrak. Yet 74% of all VOD transactions were for free programming.
Still, VOD represents a growing revenue stream for content owners: the movies-on-demand business, Rentrak says, rose 9.1% to nearly $1 billion in revenue last year.
Among free on-demand categories, music, childrenâs, and television programming remain the most popular, with TV entertainment increasing the most during 2010 (31%).
Fewer than half of all VOD-enabled set-top boxes (44%) access on-demand services in an average month, according to Rentrak. VOD users, in contrast, had an average of 17.1 transactions per month in 2010.
The proportions of free content, paid transactions, and subscription services in 2010 is similar to the contours of the VOD market in 2009, as is the percentage of VOD-enabled households that use VOD services.
Details on Rentrakâs 2010 âState of VODâ trend report are here.
The Wrap reports on what it terms a âflawâ in the nascent video-on-demand business: the dearth of publicly available audience data.
âYou canât measure it,â the websiteâs story headline gripes.
It depends on who âyouâ are, of course. The likes of Comcast and DirecTV know precisely how many subscribers rent a given VOD title, and they share that data with their studio suppliers. Research service Rentrak also sells detailed VOD viewership figures that it compiles from various pay-TV operators.
Granted, basic theatrical box office data is all but free for the taking, and certain benefits flow to the film industry from such visibility. But freely available box office figures represent something of an anomaly for the entertainment business; private numbers and paid services have long been the norm in every home entertainment sector, from music to DVD/Blu-ray and videogames.
Judging from the self-reporting of some 10,000 online consumers, research firm NPD estimates that streaming subscriptions, Internet video-on-demand services, and other digital video products have grown to account for âone quarter of all home video volume.â
Netflixâs share of all digital movie units (downloaded or streamed) reached 61% between January 2011 and February 2011, according to the NPD survey. Comcastâs VOD service places a distant second at 8%. DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, and Apple each claim a 4% share.
âSales of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs still drive most home-video revenue, but VOD and other digital options are now beginning to make inroads with consumers,â says Russ Crupnick, NPD entertainment industry analyst. âOverwhelmingly digital movie buyers do not believe physical discs are out of fashion, but their digital transactions were motivated by the immediate access and ease of acquisition provided by streaming and downloading digital video files.â
NPD also reported consumer perceptions of four modes of digital video acquisition, including electronic sell-through (EST), Internet VOD (iVOD), cable VOD, and subscription streaming. While Netflixâs streaming service is rated as providing the best âoverall shopping experienceâ and âvalue for price paid,â consumers rate iTunes as having the most âcurrent releases available.â
In a survey of 40,000 adults by Centris Research, 62% say that have either never heard of video-on-demand, never used it, or are unable to access VOD services (via Home Media Magazine). Nearly one quarter of respondents (24%) say that they have used either free or transactional VOD in the past month. That percentage is slightly higher than a year-end 2010 estimate by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, which out VOD market penetration at about 20%.
While Netflix, iTunes, and others continue to position streaming as the future of home entertainment, catalog titles still comprise the bulk of the movies on offer, according to recently compiled market research.
Out of the 100 top-grossing movies of 2010, Netflixâs unlimited streaming service carries only nine, reports technology journalist Tristan Louis (via Home Media Magazine). Amazonâs a-la-carte VOD service, in comparison, offers 48 of last yearâs top 100 box office hits, while 74 of the movies have seen DVD release.
Louisâs findings will come as no surprise to any Netflix subscriber who has ever browsed the siteâs watch-instantly section. Yet slim pickings among true ânew releaseâ films has yet to impact the companyâs growth.
Blu-ray software sales rose by 68% in 2010, helping to offset slackening demand for DVDs in the home entertainment market, according to year-end figures released by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
The DEG, which announced the year-end data at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, said that consumers purchased $1.8 billion worth of Blu-ray discs in 2010. Blu-ray rentals, meanwhile, topped $500 million, with rentals from brick-and-mortar outlets up 34% over 2009.
Blu-ray devices â including set-top players and videogame consoles â have sold through more than 28.5 million units since the formatâs launch in 2007. Some six million devices sold in the fourth quarter of 2010 alone, bringing total units sold during the year 11.25 million, according to numbers compiled by the DEG with input from retail tracking sources.
Digital distribution also contributed materially to the home entertainment sector in 2010, edging Blu-ray in overall annual value.
Consumer spending on broadband electronic sell-through (EST) and video on demand (VOD) up a combined 19% to $2.5 billion. VOD brought in $1.8 billion, up 21% for the year, while EST grew 16% to $683 million.
The trade group estimates that VOD transactions offset the decline of the entire rental category. Without VOD, rentals would have been down by 2% for the year; with VOD, the category is up by 2% to $7.8 billion. (The DEG bases its 2010 rental estimates on input from multiple studios and restated 2009 figures from Rentrak.)
Overall, consumer transactions for prerecorded content grew by 1% during the year â âa clear indication that consumer demand for home entertainment remains healthy,â said Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders, who serves as the DEGâs president.
The overall combined value of the rental and sell-through businesses during 2010 was $18.8 billion, a 3% decline from 2009. DVD sales and rentals slipped 11% in value year-over-year, ending 2010 at $14 billion.
Comcast saysÂ it plans to roll out a “play now” feature to its Xfinity iPad app in the coming weeks, enabling pay-TV subscribers to watch nearly 3,000 hours of on-demand content (release here).
According to the cable operator, app users will be able to watch TV shows or movies on demand either at home or on the go, including anywhere there is a wireless connection. Comcast plans to add more titles to the app’s VOD library in the months ahead, and bring the same functionality and content to Android-powered tablet devices later this year.
The company released its Xfinity iPad app this pastÂ November.
On-demand viewing of TV programs and movies in the U.S. will generate $10 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2014, according to a new In-Stat forecast.
The In-Stat figure includes transactional video on demand (VOD) purchases, such as movie rentals via pay-TV channels; subscription VOD, such as Netflixâs streaming service; and the download-to-own model of electronic sell-through. Of the three categories, subscription VOD will see the highest growth rate, as well as the most competition, the research firm predicts.
The rise of the VOD business and digital distribution will coincide with continued declines in DVD sales and rentals, In-Stat says. âRealistically, [electronic sell-through] cannot replace historic retail DVD video sales,â the firm adds. âHowever, the migration of DVD rentals to online T-VOD services, will help fill this revenue gap.â
âWe are finally at the tipping point where digital is becoming relevant,â Lionsgateâs digital head Curt Marvis tells the Los Angeles Times, âBut right now rental is dominant over sales.â
In a state-of-the-industry report, the Times examines the issue of whether inchoate download-to-own services stand a chance of gaining market share alongside access-oriented digital services such as Netflix streaming and video-on-demand.
Some believe that studios are already living on rented time, as it were. âWeâre almost inevitably moving toward a model in which download-to-own is a niche business,â says Screen Digestâs Arash Amel.
But with proponents of the Ultraviolet digital rights platform preparing for product launches next year, studios say the download-to-own business has only begun. Thomas Gewecke, Warner Bros.â digital president, predicts that 2011 âmight be a watershed year in making download-to-own better for the consumer.â
Reports of a âmaster keyâ leak for the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection protocol â a key anti-copying technology for Blu-ray disc publishers and consumer electronics makersÂ â have entertainment executives assessing the possible commercial implications.
Most news sources downplay the alleged incident. Wired muses that the security breach, if real, would hardly threaten the Blu-ray business the way DeCSS did for DVDs a decade ago. The Washington Post, meanwhile, notes the free availability of Blu-ray ripping technologies for those who want them, quoting an unnamed IP lawyer as saying the reported HDCP compromise has âno commercial meaning.â
But Engadget, which was early to the HDCP story, points out that the incident could ripple beyond Blu-ray players and physical media. The Intel-developed encryption scheme â which is also built into TVs, PCs, receivers and set-top boxes â is one of the âdigitally secure interfacesâ that would enable studios to market new theatrical releases electronically â via premium video-on-demand services ostensibly in development.
No sooner had Apple announced ârentalsâ of Fox TV show episodes for 99 cents via Apple TV than Amazon.com matched the 99-cent price point for episode downloads of Foxâs âGleeâ at its own video-on-demand storefront. As paidContent points out, the discount could have implications beyond simply staying competitive in the digital space, for Fox releases the DVD version of âGleeââs first season Sept. 14.
At least as of right now, customers can either pre-order the standard DVD for $35.49, or purchase the digital version of the entire season for $21.78 â and watch the episodes immediately. Amazon pitches the digital version on its DVD pre-order page.
Discussing its second quarter earnings yesterday, Comcast said it was on track to complete its deal with GEÂ for a controlling stake in NBC Universal in 2010. But the transaction cost the cable operator $59 million during the quarter (via MarketWatch), with total costs passing $88 million to date (via AllThingsD).
The expenses, Comcast said, were the primary drag on its Q2 profits, down 9% year-over-year to $884 million.
Other earnings-call highlights include CEO Brian Roberts briefly discussing the companyâs video-on-demand service, and tacitly acknowledging that a broad library of content was only one component of success in the sector. Another component â one that sector rival Netflix âdoes beautifully,â Roberts said â is ensuring that content is easy to find and discover.
Cable operators convened in Philadelphia last week for the On Demand Summit 2.0, identifying the principal opportunities and challenges to growing the digital platform. According to Toronto-based Rogers Communications, free VOD is essential for âsustainingâ relationships with older customers as well as ânurturingâ relationships with customers aged 25 and younger. Subscribers also may be willing to pay for new-release movies, provided theyâre day-and-date with their cinema debut. Among the chief challenges all operators must overcome is simplifying the VOD interface. By Multichannel News
Epix â the HD-movies-on-demand cable channel jointly owned by Viacom, Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate â is employing the Signiant software platform to manage and deliver its digital content. Signiant says the software will enable Epix to streamline media workflows and automate backend processes between studio facilities and the ventureâs cable and online distribution partners. Via PR Newswire
The New York Times reports that âone or more studiosâ are hot to try premiering films over cable video-on-demand services, now that the FCC has greenlit Hollywoodâs âselectable output controlâ copy protection scheme. One unnamed executive tells the Times that the first VOD premieres could arrive as early as this year. By The New York Times
Studios including Fox, Warner, and Universal are hoping to realize a sales lift on new releases with the institution of four-week delays in availability from Netflix and other rental services. But according to Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Eric Wold, consumers will be more likely to watch a windowed new release via video-on-demand services than to purchase a DVD or Blu-ray copy of the film.
Thatâs if the new 28-day windows motivate consumers to spend at all. âWe continue to believe that most consumers will wait the 28 days (choosing a different movie for now) in order to obtain the much lower pricing of Redbox and/or Netflix after the window passes,â Wold says in an April 12 note. By Home Media Magazine
Hollywood kept the video on demand business at bay for years while consumers built their DVD libraries. Now a consortium of studios is teaming with the nationâs largest cable companies to reintroduce the VOD concept to households.
The companiesâ $30 million TV, print and online campaign â themed âThe Video Store Just Moved Inâ â will tout the convenience of the platform, as well as the day-and-date availability of many films on VOD and DVD. The campaign runs through early June.
Coming from the cable industry, the campaign naturally makes no mention of the Internet VOD services offered by Netflix, Vudu, and others have already moved into many living rooms, via Net-connected videogame consoles and set-tops.
For studios, cable VOD transactions carry significantly higher profits than both the new streaming services and traditional disc rentals. The New York Times reports that studios keep as much as 65 cents of every dollar that cable subscribers spend on VOD, compared to the 25 cents studios earn on every dollar consumers spend on movie rentals via Blockbuster.
Yet VOD rentals accounted for less than two percent of the industryâs $53 billion in video revenue last year, according to analyst SNL Kagan (via the LA Times). Despite increasingly broad movie availability — and now, greater marketing support — cable VOD services still suffer from kludgy consumer interfaces, the LA Times report notes.
Cable operators participating in the new campaign include Armstrong, Bend Broadband, Bright House Networks, iO TV, Comcast, Cox, Insight and Time Warner Cable. Studios include 20th Century Fox, Focus Features, Lionsgate, Rogue, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Summit Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros Entertainment. More details in the release via Business Wire.
Wal-Mart is getting back into the digital entertainment distribution business with its planned acquisition of the Vudu movie download and streaming service.
The deal, which is expected to close within the next few weeks, shores up the digital position of the countryâs top DVD retailer, as studios mull reconfiguration of release windows to favor physical disc sales as well as a la carte video-on-demand transactions.
Vudu has trailed Netflix and Apple in Internet-based video on demand since its 2007 debut. But the company has licensing agreements with most major studios as well as independents, offering some 16,000 titles. Like Netflixâs service, owners of certain new TVs and Blu-ray players can access Vuduâs catalog directly from their TV screens. Like Apple, Vudu offers a-la-carte pricing for movie downloads and streams.
Vuduâs pricing structure helps to put the service higher up on studiosâ newly emerging distribution hierarchy than Netflix and Redbox, both of which have agreed to rent new-release films from Warner Bros. four weeks after their DVD street dates. For example, Warner Home Videoâs new release âThe Informant!â is now available for rent or purchase on Vudu, but unavailable to Netflix subscribers until March 23.
Wal-Mart was unsuccessful in establishing its own movie download service three years ago. However, with consumers increasingly aware of direct-to-TV streaming, the market seems ripe for reentry.
It remains to be seen whether Vudu will continue as a separate business and brand â and to what extent Wal-Mart integrates the service with its DVD and Blu-ray merchandising operations.
Following news that UK exhibitors are being asked to accept a tightened theatrical window on Disneyâs spring tentpole âAlice in Wonderland,â The Hollywood Reporter says that U.S. theater owners have been similarly approached. Disney is talking about a theatrical run of just under 13 weeks on âAlice.â Itâs likely that Disney also will accelerate the availability of âAliceâ on VOD, which home-entertainment execs have come to view as less of a threat to DVD/Blu-ray income and more as a complementary revenue stream. By The Hollywood Reporter
Time Warnerâs filmed entertainment unit recorded $1.1 billion in operating income for 2009, a 32% increase from 2008. Revenues, however, decreased by 3% to $11.1 billion, as a strong theatrical release slate including âHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Princeâ and âThe Hangoverâ was more than offset by factors including fewer home video releases and lower video catalog performance.
The company says that its Warner Home Video unit continued to top all other studios last year in DVD sales, Blu-ray disc sales, video-on-demand, and electronic sell-through. Â Time Warner
The New York-based cable operator said revenues increased primarily due to increase use of digital video recorders (DVRs) and higher video prices. However, Time Warner Cable said subscribers watched fewer transactional VOD titles and dropped premium channels, such as HBO and Showtime. By Home Media Magazine
Epix, the high-definition pay-TV and online streaming channel co-owned by Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount Studios, Jan. 21 said it extended a deal with digital media services company Avail-TVN giving the nascent service access to 48 million video-on-demand (VOD) households in the country. By Home Media Magazine
Comcast’s full slate of December day-and-date VOD titles follows a record-breaking November that had seven day-and-date VOD movies. Nearly all the studios are providing such simultaneous releases, including Warner Home Video, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Summit Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and MGM Home Entertainment. By Video Business
Speaking Dec. 8 at an investor conference in San Francisco, Barry McCarthy, the online video renter’s CFO, said the companyâs streaming expectations in the U.S. have been fulfilled, thereby affording the option to expand the concept abroad. By Home Media Magazine
Sonic Solutions and Verve-Media plan to incorporate interactive commerce functionality into the Sonicâs Roxio CinemaNow entertainment platform. The collaboration will enable content owners and retailers to explore new revenue models through interactive contextual advertising. For consumers, the new capability will provide a unique viewing experience in which information or purchasing options for products featured in, or related to, the content being consumed are dynamically available upon request. Via PR Newswire
In a new program, Amazon.com offers the digital rental or download of select films as a âgiftâ when consumers buy the films on Blu-ray or DVD. Customers access the standard-definition digital versions through Amazonâs own Video On Demand service. The siteâs âDisc + On Demandâ page currently offers more than 300 Blu-ray and DVD titles from various studios. Amazon.com
Video-on-demand rentals shot up 18% in November compared to last year as studios packed more major day-and-date DVD and VOD releases into the month than ever before, according to preliminary numbers from Rentrak. By Video Business
There is still no deal between Comcast and General Electric for NBC Universal. But presuming a deal does go through, industry executives expect the cable giant to use the film library of Universal Pictures to further develop its video-on-demand offering as well as other digital distribution models. By The New York Times
Fourteen new release movies hitting VOD in December represent more than $1 billion in combined box-office, according to cable VOD programmer InDemand. In addition, eight of the 14 will be released day-and-date with their DVD and Blu-ray versions. By Video Business
Rovi Corp. has launched its TV Guide widget on Samsung HDTVâs Yahoo! TV Widget Engine platform, providing viewers with a snapshot of programming for 28 of the most popular television channels. The Yahoo! TV Widget platform is available on select models in Samsungâs 2009 flat-panel HDTV product lines. Owners can access TV program listings, descriptions and airing times by selecting the options âOn Nowâ and âOn Nextâ using the remote control. Users can also select from several Rovi-edited âHotlists,â including the Daily Hotlist of popular prime-time shows, Movies, Family and Sports. Via Globe Newswire
IFC Entertainment and Netflix have struck a streaming partnership that gives the online movie rental service U.S. rights to 53 indie films. The IFC titles become available for streaming on televisions and computers today. Additional titles will be added on an ongoing basis. By Variety
Clicker.com, an Internet-television programming guide that received $8 million in financing from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures, launched last week after about two months of beta testing. The site organizes shows into 23 categories and lists more than 400,000 television episodes from more than 7,000 shows. Additionally, Netflix subscribers and Amazon.com customers also can stream titles through Clicker.com. Meanwhile, OnDemandWeekly.com also went live last week. The site, founded by former Miramax Films executives Britt Bensen and Doug Turner, is looking to capitalize on a growing U.S. VOD market. By Video Business
Studios will tag movies in DVD ads of films released day-and-date as available for rent on demand. Comcast will promote the films in ads across cable outlets and anywhere else it can reach subscribers. Time Warner Cable has icons saying buy on DVD or rent on demand. By Video Business
Consumers who buy and register a Sony Bravia HDTV or Blu-ray player can watch Sony Picturesâ âCloudy With A Chance Of Meatballsâ on demand and for free, one month before the animated film sees its release on disc. By Home Media Magazine
Paramount plans to supply content and take an equity stake in video-on-demand service ZillionTV. Zillion streams movies and TV shows directly to consumer televisions; viewers either pay for the service or watch for free under an ad-supported model. Other studios on board with Zillion include Warner Bros., Sony, NBC Universal, Fox, Disney, and Lionsgate. By The Hollywood Reporter
November is likely to end up one for the record books for the video-on-demand business, with studios planning day-and-date VOD and DVD/Blu-ray Disc releases for some of the biggest films headed to disc this month. Sonyâs âAngels & Demonsâ ($133 million U.S. box-office) and âThe Ugly Truthâ ($89 million), Warnerâs âFour Christmasesâ ($120 million) and âMy Sisterâs Keeperâ ($49 million), and Universalâs âBrunoâ ($60 million) and âFunny Peopleâ ($52 million) are all set to debut on VOD timed for their disc debut in November, according to In Demand, a VOD service owned by Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Entertainment. By Video Business
After a successful trial run, cable giant Comcast is poised to accelerate the rollout of its Hulu-esque online programming service by the end of the year. The biggest remaining hurdle is how quickly Nielsen can begin generating ratings for programs that are viewed online through the Comcast on Demand Online (CODO). Comcastâs service differs from Hulu in that it is only available to users who already subscribe to Comcast cable service and are given a password in order to view programs online on an on-demand basis. By Variety
The Clint Eastwood movie has generated nearly six million VOD transactions worldwide and $30 million in consumer spending, according to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Rentrak. By Home Media Magazine