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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old February 10th, 2005, 10:46 PM   #1
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So when will movies and TV shows be available on iTunes type sites?

Hi Folks,

We've been in the middle of a lot of legal and technology issues in the music industry (through our work with our community partners from the Future of Music Coalition) and I am wondering if these same issues and processes are happening in the film community. When will these download sites start offering large selections of movies for on demand downloads? I know AOL and some others are experimenting with that type of format, but are we getting close to the time when you'll be able to find a similar selection in movies as you can music for legal paid downloads?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Brian
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Old February 11th, 2005, 04:33 AM   #2
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Since the music buying over the internet is still in its infancy (basically),
and movies (with good quality) are very large I doubt this is on the
horizon for a few years to come. I know people download movies
and TV shows illegaly, but there are still a lot of people who have
montlhy download limits and such. Also the party selling such
"movies" is going to pay a lot of internet bandwidth etc.

Not to mention how the studios work. They want to have the insurance
(even if that is impossible) that it can't be illegaly copied and
whatnot. So I doubt you'll see it without DRM features.

Lots of things to overcome before this gets to be a reailty I'd say!
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Old February 11th, 2005, 05:22 AM   #3
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Rob,

Thanks for the response. AOL already offers full blown movie on demand services for a small fee. You can watch it in real time or download it for future viewing where you get a 24 hour window to watch once you launch it within 30 days of download. The technology is already here, at least in the US, to do it over the most popular internet service (AOL). The question is when will be be an open market so that, like the music industry finally did, the movie industry ALSO licenses their content for downloads. Right now free pirated downloads are widely available. But once iTunes broke the dam on offering legal downloads for a fair price they are now selling 200 million songs a month and it's still ramping up, and that isn't counting all the other services like Napster etc.

As a concept, Cable TV here already offers a wide selection of movies on demand. The same delivery system (cable) is also carrying a large number of American high speed internet access. So bandwidth for cable users already getting content on demand is already here in full force. The only downside right now is limited selection. There's a good selection of new titles, but not a great selection of older titles. What we all want is a massive selection of titles that rivals the massive music titles available. It seems that liscensing is the issue. Sure, many folks don't have fast bandwidth yet, but that is always going to be a case. There are still people without Cable, or Satelitte TV and without VCR's, but there are enough folks now to make it a great business. It's forcing video stores like Blockbuster to expand their models to include mail order dvd's (copying Netflix's model) and working with companies like AOL to offer online downloads. It seems logical for them to become a portal for online rental/purchase as well and I am guessing they are already working on it.

As for bandwidth, sites like iTunes have handled it with ease so far, I am guessing they can keep ramping up. I think 10 years is too far out. It think it will be more common in 5-6 years.

Anyone else with opinions?

Brian

PS: Rob, I am really learning a lot from you posts on the site. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
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Old February 12th, 2005, 05:38 PM   #4
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www.movielink.com

there's also a bunch i can't recall the links now but you can google around. tivo&netflix is developing a service similar to movielink.com.

the problem with online dstribution is quality, but just like MP3s, even if the quality sux the average consumer will want it because of convenience. one thing i hate about online films is the lack of 5.1 surround sound. if they had that i wouldn't mind downloading inferior quality just watch an average adam sandler film or "DUDE WHERE'S MY CAR?"-like movies. but for classics i'm sure i'd buy the HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray DVDs when they come out. i mean i sure as hell WILL NOT EVER download Lawrence of Arabia over the internet unless they offered me the ISOs of HD-DVDs or Blu-Ray and i have dual layer blank medias (each costing $.3 on both formats to burn the ISO to.
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Old February 12th, 2005, 06:10 PM   #5
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Brian: it sort of seems like you're answering your own question here.

Personally, I agree with Rob, we aren't there yet - at least not in any volume or quality level. The pipes just aren't in place for this to work on the consumer level. I've read various articles in business publications which suggest that what you're talking about is somewhere in a 5 to 10 year window - and of course the ideal will be to offer such services at HD resolution.

Comcast and Verizon will no doubt be big players in this arena. Place your bets, if you pick the right horse then an investment could pay off nicely a few years down the road. And if you pick the wrong horse.... well, it's only money ;-)
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Old February 12th, 2005, 08:34 PM   #6
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Yi Fong Yu,

That's a great point about quality and the average consumer preference. We see similar concerns from recording artists who lament the quality of on line music downloads, but the creators are usually much more sensitive than the folks downloading it are. I haven't downloaded a movie on one of the services yet, but the fact it has inferior audio hadn't occurred to me until now. Thanks for the post.

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Old February 12th, 2005, 08:42 PM   #7
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Boyd,

I don't disagree that the infrastructure might not be there totally yet, but I guess my real curiousity is more about how quickly the film industry will license the movie content compared to what the music industry did in licensing music content? The film industry always seems a step ahead of the music folks (often even when they are the same companies) in how they market and price stuff. For example, making DVD's affordable and adding lots of added value features long before the music community really even got why that was important. So once the technology/bandwidth etc. is available for on demand type of services, will the movie industry license all the movies to supply the desired content, or will they drag their feet like the music industry did until Apple was able to break the log jam with iTunes long after the technology was available to sell songs profitably on line?

Thanks for the interesting discussion. You guys have a great community here.

Brian
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Old February 12th, 2005, 08:55 PM   #8
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May be closer than you think

Take a look at this article that suggests that the MacMini is really intended as a video player platform to facilitate the downloading of movies

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20050120.html
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Old February 13th, 2005, 01:44 PM   #9
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brian, didya check out movielink.com? greencine.com also offers limited VOD. hollywoo'd already doing a lot of streaming already.

if anyone's trailblazing technology, it is porn. but porn people don't care about quality. as long as it is discernible which body parts are which taht's all that matters for porn.

re: quality of VOD/mp3. i've seen bottle rocket the film from movielink.com and i liked the convenience... but i wouldn't watch lord of the rings via that format unless i have verizon's FIOS fiber optics giving me bandwidth enough for 33 megabytes/second download for HD video streaming content with MLP 6.1 surround sound (lossless) then i won't be satisfied. and i know i'm being unrealistic but i want my moviewatching experience to bhe most utterly insane and unreal experience, wouldn't you want that?

as for the avg consumer, we have assume they are stupid no matter what the market tells us abuot 'sophisticated consumers". CDs were popular NOT BECAUSE of quality, that was merely a side effect. CD technology is popular because of convenience. convenience of portability, convenience of speed (access). but we're @a point in technology where musically CDs are it... that's why DVD audio and SACD failed... and i believe HD-DVD and Blu-Ray won't affect the mass audience unless they started buying HDTV en masse.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 10:49 PM   #10
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VOD is available, but something for the iPod or similar device is more of a legal issue with the studios.

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Old February 22nd, 2005, 07:41 PM   #11
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There are already people trying to extend the podcasting phenomenom to video. Just a matter of time. It will be more about who can afford bandwidth from their server than anything else.

more about podcasting
http://www.ipodder.org
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 08:02 PM   #12
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Podcasting is about radio-style things, I hear. If you can't get studios and networks to give content to iPod and the others, you can't legally do it. And besides, the screens are tiny!

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Old February 22nd, 2005, 08:18 PM   #13
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Heath, it's more than just mp3 files. Most of what I get from the various podcasting sites stays right on my laptop. I'm talking about independent music, video and features. It's less than a year old and growing fast. It's an extension to traditional RSS newsfeeds if you are familiar with those. the ipodder site will link you everything you want to know.

Almost all of the artists being podcasted are either completely independent or subscribe to the creative commons usage scheme. Non of the current podcasts are sending RIAA based artists.
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 10:25 PM   #14
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I dig any new outlets for indie stuff.

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