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It's a Mover's World

22 Feb, 2006 By: Holly J. Wagner

By now, most of you probably know I have traded in the L.A. rat race for life in a small town in Arizona. I can honestly say that living here gives one a very different perspective on the packaged-entertainment world.

For one thing, my real estate agent (who lives in a much larger town of 65,000 people) and her hubby just got their first DVD player this past Christmas. The price of a player had long since ceased to be an obstacle. They just didn't see the need. She does report that they're enjoying it now. But I can't help wondering if that's a barometer for high-definition formats. If the heartland is just now getting around to standard DVD, it seems unlikely they'll clamor for high-definition by this spring.

Around here it's also not hard to tell who wants your eyeballs and who is resting on their laurels.

I went to the cable company (CableOne) to see about getting cable TV and Internet service. They said they could schedule me for hookups in about three weeks. By contrast, DirecTV offered me their mover's connection service. I took my receivers (which I don't have to pay rent on every month like cable boxes) with me and DirecTV had a guy at the new place installing a free dish within two days of my call.

Netflix isn't letting any grass grow under its feet, either. You know those little welcome-wagon envelopes full of offers for all the stuff you need at your new pad? If you haven't moved recently, you might not notice that Netflix has a flyer in there soliciting your business.

It's a great way to reach people who might not have heard of Netflix (especially when you move to a town that has just one rental store). I can't help wondering how much that impression helps. I certainly knew right away which companies wanted my business.

It's definitely a battle for market share out there, in the physical and digital worlds. So far, the battles have been mostly confined within industries — store-based vs. online rentals, cable vs. satellite. Now that telecommunications companies are jumping into the fray and studios are rolling out services like MovieBeam and Sony Connect, the field is set get that much more competitive.

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