News came along this week that Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, are buying up Lovefilm – the most successful popular video-through-the-post service in the UK. Lovefilm have around 1.6 million customers in Europe.
The way it works is that you go to their web site and make up a list of the films you would like to see. say 30 or so. They will send you a DVD film from the list through the post and as soon as you return that one, the next one is sent. There are various rental deals depending on how keen a movie watcher you are.
Now with Amazon on board, they hope to break into the video streaming market. There is a catch though, as Sky has contracts to not only broadcast films from the main movie studios, they also own the UK on-demand rights as well. This makes it very difficult for new entrants into the market.
The Competition Commission has now got involved with the whole video on-demand issue to see if the market needs more competition. The decision is still out.
Meanwhile in America video-on-demand is huge, growing at 31% per year. As a taster of what kind of devices you need to take advantage of this new form of entertainment, have a look at Wired magazine’s review of HDTV media streamers now available in the States.
I think in about 5 to 10 years time, the way we all consume films and entertainment will look very different.