Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking The Video Fight To The Clouds

There's a fight brewing for video purchases and sides are being drawn up.  For Apple, it has always been about the iTune library.  Consumers purchase and download or store in the Apple cloud for use on any device with iTune access.  For the studios, the push has been to maintain the DVD business by augmenting it with the UltraViolet cloud.  And there is Amazon who is designing both their own cloud business as well as building compatibility with UltraViolet.  

Retailers, trying to keep DVD sales alive, are also looking at the best approach to take.  Wal-mart has decided the UltraViolet cloud working with Vudu works best.  "The retail behemoth last week teamed up with five Hollywood studios in an effort to stem the continuing decline in DVD sales."  Vudu customers can take their previously purchased DVDs to Wal-mart and for a minimum fee, gain a digital cloud-based version.  Will Apple try to collaborate with UltraViolet or stay the course through iTunes?

And what does the consumer want?  Is it necessary to own the content anymore when titles are accessible anytime, anywhere, through cloud-based rentals.  Does Netflix and others offer a better rental alternative and should Apple consider building a rental program into their iTune model?  I like the closed architecture approach that has made Apple successful.  At the same time, I believe a rental model could work very well for Apple.  And as far as the DVD business is concerned, with the exception of kid videos that are watched over and over and over again, the rental market accessible on demand will continual to over shadow purchase.

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