On-demand entertainment (OED) enables people to watch, read or listen to nearly anything they want, whenever they choose. Innovators such as Napster, the original file-sharing portal that debuted in 1999 during the height of the dotcom boom, paved the way for the modern OED industry by battling well-funded adversaries over copyright infringement.
In response to consumer demand, Comcast launched its On Demand channel with 740 movies in 2003. By May 2011, customers had accessed 20 billion programs, and were regularly viewing 350 million programs each month. OED is driving viewership because the many positives, including instant access to a huge library of content on the viewer’s schedule, ...view middle of the document...
From films to music to gaming, each company offers unique, yet competitive pricing structures and content libraries.
Videos on Demand
The video-sharing website is rapidly expanding beyond home videos and movie trailers to offer traditional movies as well as HD and 3D content. In 2011, Google struck a deal with several major movie studios that allows YouTube to offer a rental service. Among the 3,000 titles are
feature-length movies, classics, documentaries, shorts and independent films. Although some titles are free, many are pay-per view, ranging from $1.99 for older movies to $3.99 for new releases, with some titles available day-and-date with DVD. On-demand television shows, live streams and breaking news are also available.
One of the strongest players in the VOD industry with more than 20 million subscribers, Netflix witnessed a drastic drop of 3.7 million mail-order subscribers in the final quarter of 2011. After a hefty price hike for the DVD and Blu-ray mailing service, many customers opted to pay the $7.99 per month fee for unlimited streaming of select movies and television shows to a television or computer. Netflix is ramping up its offerings, including adding a Just for Kids section and securing the rights to original programs. It is also one of the few VOD services that offer specialty equipment so that content can be accessed through a television.
A free VOD service supported by advertising, Hulu aggregates current episodes available on each networks’ websites into one user-friendly platform. The website offers streaming video of TV shows and movies as well as webisodes, trailers, clips and commentaries. Launched in November 2010, Hulu Plus enables monthly subscribers to watch current and past season shows and movies for $7.99 per month.
One of the most recent additions to the VOD market is Amazon’s Instant Video. Launched in February 2011, inventory has grown to include more than 100,000 titles. For a $79 annual subscription, the Prime Instant Video membership loyalty program provides commercial-free access to 10,000 videos, as well as free shipping on other Amazon purchases. Offering new releases, current TV episodes, classics and even movies still in theaters, customers can rent titles starting at $1, or they can purchase TV shows for $2 or new releases for $5. Titles are streamed via an Internet connection or downloaded to watch on devices such as the Kindle Fire.
Music on Demand
The controversial service is responsible for paving the way for the modern ODE industry today, including the launch of iTunes’ 99-cents-per-song model. But as of...