Back in July last year I wrote a blog article about the concept of on demand film and television and my view that it won’t be that long before the model of delivering entertainment to us will shift from a schedule basis to a on demand basis. It is interesting that only 6 months on from that blog article the shift has already started. Anglo-Yanky Kevin Spacey has recently announced a USA remake of the ‘House of Cards’ TV series, the political drama that was so popular in the 1990’s in the UK. But what is significant about the announcement is that it is intended to be released, at least initially, via Netflix online rather than via a television network. The show, which premieres on 1st March in the US, is a typically modern television feast with big budgets, big names and no doubt big expectations for success. So it is either a daring experiment or a Sky Atlantic style marketing ploy that it is being launched on the online subscription service, rather than on an open TV network. Either way, what is assured is that the entire TV industry will be carefully watching how this show does to see if on demand, online, is the way forwards.
What is very interesting is the prominence of services like Netflix and LoveFilm, to name but two of the brands avaialable. Having watched Blockbuster recently demise it is clear that the way we want to consume films and television has changed. Take my household as an example, we bought a new TV at Christmas to replace the behemoth old thing in the corner with a shiny new flat screen HD LED, with 3D and more significantly SmartTV. We are fans of LoveFilm and use their DVD by post service, but this new television now means that instead of waiting for the DVD we can simply login through the television and pick from thousands of films and television series to watch there and then. We don’t have to wait until the following week for the next episode because they are all avaialble and a lot of the films are very recently released. As we have children and are in the middle of the recession we don’t often go to the cinema so instead we can wait just a little longer and watch the film on demand, without having to pay £5 for a packet of Maltesers!
Blockbusters failure to see the power of online, and more importantly that TV’s would move online, was their own doom. But it appears that some of the leading lights in TV and Film are already beginning to embrace this, with the backing of the production companies. And that is, I believe, the key point and what will ultimately be what leads to the shift towards on demand being the norm. Once the production companies and re-sellers see the potential and start to focus on the online, on demand market rather than the showcase of cinema and scheduled television then things will change rapidly.
There is a lot of talk, plenty from me as well, that 2013 will be the year of mobile but by the looks of things it could also be the year of on demand as well. Watch this space!