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Main > Archives > 2006 > September > Amazon-iPod Movies: Who Cares?

Friday, September 08, 2006

Amazon-iPod Movies: Who Cares?

So Amazon and Apple are jumping into the movie download service. These efforts will probably be too little too late to impact their bottom lines and most people.

The movie download business was established years ago by companies such as MovieLink (a movie studio project that was looking for a buyer recently)and CinemaNow that have had only modest success. So why jump in now?

For Amazon, this isn't a natural extension of their business. They are a hard goods company, not digital media, so their isn't any reason to believe that people who buy DVDs and books will want to download TV shows and movies.

For Apple, the reality is that the screens on the handheld players are too small to watch 90-120 minute movies. There are dozens of portable devices out there for watching movies, and they ain't setting the world on fire. I know, Apple will do it better than Microsoft, blah, blah blah. For 22 minute TV shows, you can tolerate a little screen, but no more than that. The cold truth is that there aren't enough desktops for Apple to make movie watching a big deal.

Apple's $1.99 TV program downloads weren't a huge success as evidenced by ABC, CBS, etc. running to create their own Internet channels with ad-supported versions of the same shows.

The real growth will be in ad-supported TV shows that can be downloaded, and Apple would be smart to embrace that market as their primary source of video revenue. If you could catch up on the episodes of Scrubs that you missed while commuting for free many people would do it. But pay $1.99 for something that you can TiVo or catch in rerurns? I don't think so.

I have used the existing movie download services and believe that there is a decent market, it's just not gonna grow anywhere large enough to merit the current attention. Competition from IPTV and video demand services via cable will give viewers the flexibility to watch what they want when they want. Movies were made for the big screen.

By John Gartner at 02:17 PM | Comments (4)

(4) Thoughts on Amazon-iPod Movies: Who Cares?

Why can't people just buy movies in hard copy form like in the olden days? What's so wrong or hard about that?

Comments by Becca : Friday, September 08, 2006 at 02:26 PM

To often Apple is undersetimated. As fo Amazon, I am not sure if digital goods are all that far of reach. If any one is old like me :), he or she may remeber the times when Amazon sold only books and music. Only time will sho how well will it work. Amazon has the largest army of affiliates to promote their products, so if they can put their minds together with people form Apple this may be just one more surprise for all of us to witness. Just my 2 cents.

Comments by Vlad : Friday, September 08, 2006 at 11:59 PM

I really couldn't disagree with this post more. With the announcement of iTV for the upcoming quarter it seems apparent that Apple already has a leg up on MovieLink and CinemaNow. (not to mention the sheer user size of the iTunes platform in itself being a huge advantage) Apple also differentiates its product with the aspect of flexibility, its not locked down by DRM as tightly as those other services. Apple has already shown (although you claim it hasn't) that it can be successful in the video market, with sales of over 1 million units in less than a month after its release. I would disagree with the staement about ads as well, Apple's success, DVD sales, and TIVO all seem to suggest that customers are willing to pay for less ads. Apple's thrown its chips in, I guess now we will just have to wait and see.

Comments by Jamie : Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 01:40 AM

Your article neglects to mention one crucial factor, and the one that makes me an iPod video customer: With a simple cable attachment (mini to red/yellow/white RCA plugs) all iPod video are playable on your home televison. Resolution, while not HD/Bluray quality is quite good. Very few people who download videos on iPods actually watch them on the little screen.

Comments by Spenser : Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 05:34 PM

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