It’s nice to see the experimentation by Amazon and Apple. I certainly like the notion of bringing all this digital content to the television. I’m just not that sure it’s going to be that big of a deal.
First of all, it’s not like consumers are starved for movie options. Loads of choices already exist. Besides the Blockbuster in every neighborhood, doesn’t every cable and satellite service already feature a fairly extensive list of on-demand/pay-per-view choices? Sure, they don’t offer every single movie ever made, so the Unbox/iTunes solutions bring the long tail into play, but I still have a hard time thinking that’s significant in this business.
Some would say Unbox/iTunes addresses the need for instant gratification. I can see where that plays a major role in some industries, but hasn’t Netflix shown that folks are quite comfortable waiting a day or two for a movie? I don’t know that instant gratification is such an important factor with movies.
Portability. That’s critical, right? After all, everyone wants to watch movies on their portable devices. Yes, I’ve seen people on planes and elsewhere watching movies on laptops and portable DVD players, but that too seems like the minority.
Then there’s the whole “if you want a Disney movie you can only get it from iTunes, but for everyone else you can go to Amazon, but keep in mind the Amazon ones won’t work on an iPod…” issue. Yuck. I can only hope both organizations figure out how to make this more seamless for consumers who only care about watching a movie, not corporate politics.
Btw, if the Apple solution takes off, it will be yet another remarkable case of Steve Jobs being able to rope people in to a highly proprietary (closed) system. Wow. I thought those days were well behind us, which of course is why I’ve never bought an iPod and never will.