Sunday, April 14, 2013

VDIO: will streaming replace cinema?

The short-term answer is no, given what huge businesses cinemas are ... but then the CD market, and the high-street retailers linked with this, seemed bullet-proof not so long ago and even HMV has gone bust, with downloads long since passing physical CD sales.
Vdio is the latest launch of a company seeking to develop film streaming in the UK, but for now their prospects are limited by the absolute determination of the exhibitors to protect the exclusive cinema window. Netflix has recently pioneered releasing TV series in one go, before they've aired on TV, so its likely this will eventually happen with cinema too. IMAX, 3D and the huge improvements in sound are all defensive moves by cinema to protect its appeal with customers who can download movies to watch on phones, tablets, computers or home cinema setups, but they do face huge and growing pressure from online distribution - especially now 4G broadband is here and GB file sizes no longer rule out film streaming/downloads for most.

Here's an excerpt from Stuart Dredge's article on this, Vdio streaming TV and film service goes live in the US and UK (4.4.13):
In other words, TV shows and movies are bigger than songs, which for a while meant piracy was less of a headache for rightsholders in those industries than in music – although faster broadband connections and better data on the scale of TV and film filesharing is changing that.
Even so, by protecting the idea of release windows – where shows and films get staggered releases through cinema/TV, DVD/Blu-ray and digital services – startups like Vdio have to license content where they can.
"They've embraced digital, it's not like they haven't," says Larner. "There are a ton of digital services out there. But movies and TV – and movies especially – are holding on to their windowing as long as they can, to squeeze as many dollars as they can out of the initial theatrical release, then the other windows."
For now, Vdio will focus on refining its technology for buying and renting, ready to add subscriptions when it thinks the time is right. Larner says the company is also focused on expanding the number of devices Vdio is available on, including TVs.
"For a video service, it's critical to be on the TV. Right now, Vdio is web and iPad, and the way to get on TV is you need to take your iPad and use it with an Apple TV, which is a great experience," he says.
"But no doubt about it, we need to be on TVs in other ways, and we have that on the roadmap, whether it's [set-top box] Roku or doing apps for Samsung or LG TVs. We need to be there."

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