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OPLIN 4Cast #208: Movie distribution news

Posted in 4cast

movie scene boardToday we are going to ignore all the news items about WikiLeaks and Google eBooks and look instead at movies. It’s been a while (4cast #193) since we looked at developments in ways to deliver movies to at-home viewers. Movies are, of course, a substantial portion of the total circulation of library items, but you might want to consider these news stories before you order more shelving for your DVDs (or VHS tapes). The biggest news was the late-November announcement from Netflix that they will offer a download-only subscription service to movies and TV shows, and industry reaction to that news.

  • Netflix intros $7.99 streaming-only plan (Ars Technica/Jacqui Cheng)  “‘You might also wonder why we haven’t introduced a new plan that includes only DVDs by mail,’ [Netflix VP of Marketing Jessie] Becker wrote. ‘The fact is that Netflix members are already watching more TV episodes and movies streamed instantly over the Internet than on DVDs, and we expect that trend to continue.'”
  • Netflix’s move onto the Web stirs rivalries (New York Times/Tim Arango and David Carr)  “The dilemma for Hollywood was neatly spelled out in a Netflix announcement Monday of a new subscription service: $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming of movies and television shows, compared with $19.99 a month for a plan that allows the subscriber to have three discs out at a time, sent through the mail, plus unlimited streaming. For studios that only a few years ago were selling new DVDs for $30, that represents a huge drop in profits.”
  • Amazon working on rival to Netflix streaming-only subscription service (ReadWriteWeb/Mike Melanson)  “Already, Amazon offers streaming television shows and movies through its Video On Demand product, which is available on both computers as well as Internet TV devices, but this provides more of an à la carte offering. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company is ‘developing a Netflix-like subscription service that would offer TV shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter. That service would be included as a bundle with its Amazon Prime shipping service, which costs $79 a year, those people said.'”
  • Vending machine copies movies to thumb drives (Wired/Charlie Sorrel)  “You jam a USB stick or SD-card into one of its kiosks and pick a movie, game or TV show. The ‘flick’ is then transferred to your ‘stick’ and you can take it home to enjoy it. Fees are based on how long you want to keep the movie, costing $1 for 3 days, $2 for 6, $3 for 9 days and $4 for 12 days. Once your time is up, the movie-file will self-destruct.”

Stock market fact:
Last week, Standard & Poor’s promoted Netflix from their S&P MidCap 400 index up to their widely followed S&P 500 index of large-cap American stocks. On the same day, they removed the New York Times from the S&P 500 and put it in the Midcap 400 index.