Digital Marketplace Gets Even More Dynamic30 Oct, 2017 By: Stephanie Prange
This past month, the digital marketplace shifted on both the transactional and subscription VOD fronts.
On the transactional side, five of six major Hollywood studios joined forces for digital locker 2.0, Movies Anywhere, in a renewed attempt to make digital movie collecting easy. Movies Anywhere, a free app and website, launched Oct. 11, backed by four top digital retailers and content from Walt Disney (including Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment. After the stalled digital locker effort of UltraViolet, content owners are no doubt hoping the second time’s a charm, and having used the service in the past few weeks, I’m impressed. Family members away at college or during a break at school or work have been able to watch movies via the new service, something they rarely did in the many years we utilized UltraViolet. Kudos to these companies for continuing to improve the collecting experience for consumers, and here’s hoping Paramount and Lionsgate give it a shot, as well as digital retailers other than launch partners Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Walmart’s Vudu. I expect expansion of Movies Anywhere participants soon.
The SVOD marketplace saw pricing moves, both up and down. Netflix raised prices, overcoming any cold feet after a disastrous price increase attempt years ago. Despite its loss of Disney content and the threat of rebellion from cost-conscious consumers, Netflix got a thumbs up from the financial markets. On the other hand, Hulu took the opposite tack, lowering the introductory price for its ad-supported service, among other moves for price-conscious viewers.
Meanwhile, kiosk company Redbox, a physical rental stalwart, also made some digital moves, hiring new executives and selling Digital HD codes. More on that front is sure to come.
Content owners and services are aggressively chasing the digital future, refining the pricing and consumer experience in an attempt to find a winning mix. Dr. Nelson Granados, Forbes contributor and professor of digital innovation and information, addressed this dynamic change at the EMA’s recent Digital Media Pipeline conference. He noted that “channel conflict” is inevitable and that content owners have “got to strike a balance,” he said. It looks as if the shifts to find that balance are accelerating.