The idea of selling a movie as a mobile app is intriguing and is exactly what Warner Home Video is doing, launching apps for The Dark Knight and Inception. The apps play the movie and allow for scene selection and other functionality and go for about the same price as downloading the movie from iTunes. What’s more interesting to me is how this model might irk Apple, which recently announced it would be taking a 30% cut of in-app subscriptions from media-based apps. The company isn’t likely to movies being offered outside of both a subscription model and outside the iTunes store.
I’m surprised to not see any of the studios on the list of advertisers that are contributing to this year’s bump in ad revenue for ABC in connection with its broadcast of the Oscars awards ceremony. This is the second year that studios have been permitted to advertise within the broadcast and, given both the makeup (movie fans both hardcore and casual) and size (claimed to be the second-biggest after the Super Bowl) of the audience, I would have expected them to be all over it.
More people are buying movies via digital download in some way, shape or form and Apple’s iTunes continues to be the most popular storefront for them to do so. But those purchases aren’t completely making up in scale for the decline in physical DVD sales, which is continuing, nor is it as popular as renting movies through some form of VOD outlet. A separate but related study shows that those who are pirating movies are doing so because of convenience and because the prices being charged are higher than what they’re willing to pay, which shouldn’t be surprising finding. There should also be attention paid to how people are spending less on movies but more on other forms of digital entertainment, particularly video games, though that’s a trend that’s been growing for a couple years now.
You’ve no doubt heard about Criterion’s deal to bring its vast catalog of classic movies to Hulu and eventually move them out of the Netflix streaming offerings. But what I thought was the most interesting part of the rationale behind that move is that it partly had to do with the search capabilities of the two websites, with Hulu being preferred because their search is better and they were able to build a branded channel with all the titles in it.