Netflix, LOVEFiLM – is this Web Video War? (Part Two)January 11, 2012
Following on from part one of this essay (and it is an essay), let’s take a quick look at some of Netflix‘s competitors in the murky world of web video streaming.
LOVEFilm has been around for many moons, but it has recently been acquired by Amazon, and this has driven the company forward as a big player in the movie rental streaming marketplace. It has two strings to its bow – a traditional subscription package (£5.99 a month) and a Pay per View service, which enables the user to watch individual films once for around £3.49.
There is around 6,000 titles in their online catalogue (at the time of writing), with no tie-in to long-term contracts and immediate cancellation available. All of the above marks LOVEFiLM out as a serious contender.
Perhaps a forgotten face of the movie rental circuit (I remember a visit to my local branch waaaaaaay back in the mid-1990s), Blockbuster has come crashing into the 21st century with its very own online rental service.
They offer a range of packages which vary in price, from two films a month for £4.99 right through to an unlimited movie and game plan for a pretty hefty £14.99 a month, although you can get your mitts on the latest Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo Wii titles as well.
Whilst not an online streaming service, Blockbuster offer a viable alternative for those movie buffs who like to get their hands on a physical product, making them a potential obstacle to Netflix and LOVEFiLM, although you would of thought that they will need to move into the digital marketplace sooner rather than later.
Whilst limited to those with Sky TV subscriptions, users can access the Sky Go service for no extra cost, enabling Sky Movies subscribers to enjoy some of the latest blockbusters on their iPad, iPhone, computer, games console etc. And when you add in all the great (and not so great) TV content available on Sky Go, it begins to actually offer a genuine alternative to the ‘streamers’ outlined above.
So if you’re already handing over your hard earned money to Rupert Murdoch and his cronies, or are planning to do so, then investigating Sky Go might be your best bet if you are looking to stream films and television on the move.
There are others of course. Virgin Media’s Filmflex, iTunes and Blinkbox offer pay per view streaming services, with the latest titles and classics priced as appropriate. If you are the kind of person that doesn’t want to sign up for subscription services then these are probably the providers for you.
Then, of course, there is YouTube. You MAY be able to find your favourite films and TV episodes on there, not that we condone copyright infringement but I’m just saying.
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