No more doubt that streaming is the future
While the movie studios are trying every idea imaginable to keep their disc business profitable, digital streaming has clearly become the future of content consumption. And nothing can prove this point more clearly than the three headlines which arrived in my inbox from Home Media Magazine; right on top of each other they read, “Netflix Posts $8 Million Profit, Stock Skyrockets,” “Blockbuster Closing 300 Stores in U.S.,” and “Verizon CFO: Redbox Instant Profit Not Likely Until 2014.”
Streaming is profitable, even unlimited subscription services, while physical disc sales and rentals are falling far behind. Even the convenience of Redbox isn’t keeping pace with streaming services.
Near my home there is an empty building bearing the once-ubiquitous name of Blockbuster. Right next door is a Walgreen’s pharmacy with a Redbox kiosk offering two renting terminals. I thought that was a telling example of how Blockbuster has failed. The convenience of picking up a movie almost anywhere just killed off Blockbuster.
Yet recently I’ve learned the convenience of renting movies from Amazon Instant Video even surpasses Redbox considering the rentals are nearly the same price, there are no penalties for returning the movie late, and you don’t even have to leave the house. Pairing Netflix with Amazon Prime and Amazon Instant Video means most movies are available quickly, conveniently and cheaply.
And it’s not just Amazon; iTunes, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV, Vudu, AT&T, Verizon, and other services all provide instant rental services at varying prices which can supplement the subscription services of Netflix and Hulu Plus.
I’m not totally over physical media. I love Blu-ray Disc quality, and I prefer to own physical copies of certain movies. I just don’t think every movie is worthy of Blu-ray Disc ownership, and when I’m rushing to pick up my kids from child care right after work, it’s so much easier to just rent the movie once I get home instead of stopping anywhere to pick up a movie, which may already be rented out.
Digital streaming is the future, and the faster the content providers can find out how to make it profitable the better.