Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IMDB Sees Future in Streaming...

IMDB announced that one of their long term goals is to offer one-button steaming for all of the movies listed on their site.

"Obviously, the vision is a long-term one, Needham acknowledged, and it faces hurdles from the slew of content owners who control the vast library of titles the Internet Movie Database provides information about, but as a leading movie-oriented site, it's a very important goal to articulate in public. "
The full story here.


Phantom of Pulp said...

Thanks for posting link to this.

I read this article. I think it's very naive. Getting EVERY rights holder (many of whom won't be found) to go along with this will take decades, if not longer.

Is streaming and downloading movies the future? Yes.

From one platform? No.

And that's because movies in some categories will get favored marketing positions and many movies on the database will be ignored and banned from downloading (even if rights were available).

Personally, I favor platforms that are more genre- and content type-based.

Right now, the studios get prime shelf positions in Best Buy (and some of the remaining retailers) because they pay big bucks for that privilege. Indie films can not compete with them in that venue.

The greatest aspect of the web is that democratization of content and supply is possible.

An indie would be crazy to want to share a downloading platform with a studio pic. Like it does at retailers, it would get eaten on the web too.

The alternative is, for example, separate indie horror, doco, indie drama platforms that are aimed directly at a specific section of the market.

The death of Circuit City, Tower, the downsizing of Blockbuster, etc., have showed us that the One Size Fits All approach no longer works.

The market is so much more diverse now. No single platform can hope to be the go-to place for content.

This is why I'm arguing that imdb's declaration is naive and, ultimately, dumb. Another case of greed speaking before logic.

Cunningham said...

You're missing the big picture on this:

IF IMDB can connect to wherever these movies reside on the web and bring additional traffic or downloads to the rights holders then it's a win-win situation.

IMDB essentially will become a referral service (much like Google Ads or Amazon Associates are) only they will become a referral service that brings hundreds of thousands of unique visitors per day (if not hour) to the table.

IMDB will not become exclusive distributors of content. They will become yet another avenue of potential sales for which they will get their cut. An indie film will have just as much weight as a blockbuster because people looking for it can go to the "authority" on movie info, find the movie and start watching it right away.

Yes there will still be genre and content-based aggregators out there, but IMDB will be an info-based, non-exclusive aggregator of content. Combine that with surrounding web ads and referral percentages and they are looking at a potential windfall based on audience numbers.

If I were a rights holder to a movie, and I knew that I could give up a small percentage of download revenue for a potential audience of millions of referrals - I would do it in a heartbeat.

The internet is a numbers game. IMDB brings a lot of numbers. This is no different than a "Buy it now" button on a website.

Andrew Bellware said...

Man, I know quite a few movies which need a good steaming. A few minutes with the steamer, shake 'em out, and they'd all be... wait... what? Oh, streaming yes... yes streaming. That sounds like a perfectly good idea. And IMDB would be a good portal.
And getting paid sounds even better. Right now my first two pictures are free on YouTube...

Phantom of Pulp said...

I missed the point about it being a referral service.

So it operates, essentially, as a high profile menu?

There will still be all kinds of mess and confusion about ratings and content, I fear.

You have more faith in the Big Boys than I do. The Big Boys only get into something when it will (mostly) benefit them.

There is also a licensing issue here, too. If there is immediate access to a title via imdb, that will impact on the rights of a license holder who is in a particular territory. Since the internet is territory-neutral in terms of access, this raises a licensing conundrum.

Cunningham said...

You can geo-lock a lot of stuff. It will be broken eventually, but you can do it.

As far as ratings and content go -- it's already there on the IMDB. Including many of the international ratings.

IMDB aims to be the next Veoh, but with a huge database of info about movies as well as a huge audience base.

Cunningham said...

Bellware - take another hit.