So the US anti pay-per-view phenomenon, Netflix, has finally crossed the pond to the UK this week – but what does this mean for the future of DVDs? Are they destined for the charity shops?
The introduction of the latest online multi-film channel with a monthly fee for unlimited content has got the InvisibleHand team’s brains ticking, we agree it is the future – for many a long awaited step forward – some are even happy to see the back of DVDs. Some say it’s much easier to store your film collection online, it’s portable, and does anyone watch a film more than twice? Is there a need to hold onto a DVD to watch it again when it can be conveniently found online at any time?
A big selling point for online film retailers is that the user can sign into their account on any device – your smart phones or your laptops – and watch the films anywhere they go. The ‘unlimited access to film and TV’ angle tips the scales in the favour of online film retailers too, the customer doesn’t have to travel anywhere to pick up or return a film, and they can get much more for their money – in these cash strapped times. Well known film rental chains are on the way out, with the US already seeing a major rental chain disappear from the high street, so surely online rental (by the month) is the next logical step? The rental now moves from one film to a catalogue of films, due to the increased appetite for online content consumers have now developed – and are used to, with the introduction of music software which offers unlimited access for a monthly fee.
It is now more common to buy DVDs online as they’re much cheaper, would it make a difference if the transaction was made shorter by the customer seeing the film as soon as it was found online? The television market is already ladened with “+1″ channels and TV on demand players for the major channels, this solution combines the already successful TV players with a match for films too. It’s a similar argument to the ongoing rivalry of mp3s vs CDs/vinyls – the physical disc over the mass storage of digital music.
Ultimately watching films over the Internet for such a low price, coupled with unlimited access, is a bargain that is hard to turn down. Most TVs being sold this year are smart TVs which will have the capacity for apps such as Lovefilm or Netflix to be downloaded, so by next year this could be a firm fixture in the majority of households.
Are you ready to move online? Or will you find it too hard to let go of your growing DVD collection?