Entertainment content providers are responsible for distributing the entertainment itself from the “Content Creators” to the viewers.
Cable television providers are a good example of entertainment content providers. However, their content is “programmed” via the television or cable network channel lineups which they offer. The homes can either watch what is on now, or record it and watch it later (and skip the commercials). This latter option has become much more popular with the use of DVR’s (Digital Video Recorder).
The video rental & streaming services we’re looking at here though are considered providers of “On-Demand” content. On-Demand simply means that we watch only those shows or movies that we like and enjoy on our own schedule.
Thanks to the spread of broad band data, the choices for on-demand video are increasing every day. Some homes have already switched over to this method of video distribution completely and “ditched their cable”. The whole idea here is that you pay only for what you watch.
It should be noted also that some cable TV providers are now offering options for On-Demand video. Either it’s free as part of their regular cable subscription, or comes at additional cost added on to your monthly bill – it usually depends on the entertainment content.
Not every home wants or needs cable television. It’s not unusual for most viewers to narrow down the hundreds of channels provided to only a handful, dozen or so, that they watch on a regular basis. For current events such as news, the Internet has been replacing this for some time now.
Portable devices such as tablet computers and smart phones are contributing to the transition to On-Demand video. People want to watch videos wherever they are or whenever they want to. If they are sitting in the waiting room of their auto mechanic, why not watch a movie?
The increased usage of Internet broad band by many homes is making it easier for on-demand videos to be distributed. However, usage still breaks down into two areas: Non-Broadband and broadband or video streaming.
On-Demand Video using Non-Broadband Distribution
Probably the best known method for renting videos offline is your local video rental store. They have been around for some time now and most neighborhoods have at least one or more. People (mindlessly) walk through the store, most often the new releases section, and look something they have not seen before.
Surprisingly, video stores are still common today, although not as much. Many people still do not have the technology in their homes to watch videos electronically from the Internet. It could be they do not know how to make a high speed network connection to their TV, or they don’t want to spend the money. Maybe they simply watch too many movies and exceed their monthly broad band quota. There are still a number of different reasons why your local video store is still in business.
Netflix has taken the local video store concept to the next level. Instead of people having to mindlessly wander through the video store for their selection, they can do this online using whatever device is convenient for them. They can queue their selections and let Netflix take care of getting them to their home.
This side of Netflix’s business still remains popular for the same reasons as mentioned above. Almost every home has a DVD or Blu-Ray player connected to at least one of their TV’s, so watching them is easy.
The downside with Netflix’s DVD service is that there is no instant gratification. You need to plan ahead and wait, in most cases, at least one business day for the movie to arrive at your home. You may need to wait longer, if you first need to return one.
Redbox is another good example of a Non-Broadband option for movies. They get around the Netflix time delay issue by simply placing “Red Boxes” in strategic locations in your neighborhoods through which they can automatically “Vend” the movie to you. This also eliminates the overhead of having a full retail store which is typically open only part of the day.
The electronic version of Netflix’s DVD mailing service is also available through their video streaming service. Although with the streaming service there is not the same selection of movies available.
In order to use the Netflix Streaming video service, the broad band connection to your home TV has become common through game players and Blu-Ray players. This simplifies and minimizes the cost of having to figure out how to connect your home computer to your TV.
Video Streaming services continue to become more popular as broad band connections to homes become faster and at a lower cost. Not just from Netflix, but there are many other services as well.
There is little doubt that eventually all video content will be distributed to our homes via our broad band data connection. Simply put, it’s easier – no physical product, it’s instantaneous and it’s flexible. However, this method does require a data network infrastructure. Getting a fast and reliable one at an affordable cost are the growing pains we’re going through today.
One has to wonder though, that if it becomes so easy to electronically distribute entertainment content, why don’t the entertainment content creators simply make it available online? What need is there to add cost by putting another middleman in the process?
In fact, this transition is already happening today. Most television series are available at their network’s website, usually after they have been aired the first time. Check out your favorite show – chances are pretty good that the previous episodes are available online.
Just maybe, some day in the future, our television’s remote control will be nothing but an Internet URL address selector, which then allows us to choose and watch any show that the network provides.
It’s too soon to know at this time. A lot of companies have a lot of money invested in the current process and those kinds of major changes don’t happen overnight, unless viewers change their viewing habits.