Wednesday, June 13, 2007
How do you want your entertainment?
From CNN Entertainment Producer Matt West:

Lights. Camera. Confusion.

The weeklong Digital Hollywood conference in Santa Monica, Califonia, is an exploration of what could be next in terms of digital delivery of entertainment. Software and network developers have gathered together to display their wares in an attempt to offer solutions to the distribution questions nagging at the entertainment business. The industry wants to expand and improve the way it offers movies, music and shows to you, and these developers are trying to present ideas.

But I say "could be next" because, while the developers are claiming to have the answer, nobody is really certain of what the question is.

While everyone -- both studios and software developers and sites -- agree on the importance of digital distribution, none of the players are really sure just how best to serve their consumers.

During a panel discussion focused on film and TV distribution, one of the key topics was user expectations. Panel members pointed to the success of Internet-driven businesses such as Netflix, which are able to offer nearly any film imaginable within 24 hours, versus some of the purely digital distributors such as CinemaNow, which have a much smaller inventory of titles.

And while these sites all have relationships with the various studios, that relationship is tentative at best -- and clearly favors the studio's desires, not necessarily the desires of the consumers.

Consumers want what they want. They don't really care about the software tools that help them get that movie or TV show. If users go to a site to find a particular title and can't find it, they will simply go and search for it elsewhere. If they find that particular title but it only works on their PCs but not on their iPods, again -- they'll inevitably find another way to get that content.

So what's the answer? It depends on what the question is ...

-- Matt West
The article falsely states "...Netflix, [is] able to offer nearly any film imaginable within 24 hours..."

The facts are many new releases are hung up in a Netflix members queue, often for months.

Netflix has admitted to holding back DVDs if a member is considered a heavy user, even if that member has an "unlimited plan."

I have had "Bobby" in my queue since its DVD release date of May 10th. It is now June 13th, and Netflix states I have a "very long wait" before I see it. Similarly, "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" took over 4 months after its DVD release to reach my home.

With Netflix, it takes a day for a DVD to reach a member. It takes a day to return it. It takes another day for Netflix to process the return. And then it takes another day for them to ship a new DVD back to you.

How can anyone state Netflix delivers films within 24 hours? It doesn't.
I want to be able to get to my entertainment on any device that will play it without having to buy 100 different versions. I want to be able to watch or listen to it on my PC, transfer it to my Xbox 360, put it onto my PSP, move it to my ipod, then transfer it over to my mobile phone.

I want my entertainment available when I want it, to have everything on Demand. If I want to watch a movie I can just browse to movies on my TV or DVR and select it and it starts playing.

I want all of this on a subscription. If I do buy it, I want to own it - no limited time viewing or anything.
Everyone should be able to purchase a n ultimate version of a movie, or CD for five dollars more...for example, a DVD that has the HD version and regular version non-DRMed to be used on whatever equipment you want. Basically paying just a little extra for a "license" to use your purchase how you seem fit. As far as TV is concerned, execs need to wake up and realize that the tech is available for me to watch real good shows whenever I want (sunday afternoon when football isn't on, for example), and that it is more of a reflection on the quality and quantity of television commercials than it is the individual television shows.
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Occasional musings and gab about the world of entertainment.
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