I read today that a) iTunes is offering Disney movie downloads, b) Amazon is offering movie downloads, and c) that as a result, Netflix’s days are numbered.
I write about this because we started our business with the same unlimited rental model that Netflix popularized (as opposed to invented, but that’s another subject). The fact that there are now additional ways to consume video content doesn’t mean the death of physical product for a looooong time, and maybe not even then.
When email came along, people didn’t stop using paper. When cars came along, people didn’t stop walking. Audiobooks don’t cannibalize regular book sales (the audiences are different). And so it is that having additional channels to consume movies and audiobooks will simply increase consumption, with minor balancing of the channels.
With audiobooks, downloadable product is dramatically increasing listenership (50% of all audiobook downloaders are new to audiobooks), not simply stealing share from CDs and cassettes. There’s plenty of room for everyone at this table.
All this fuss about downloading video into your TV using some fancy gizmo from Apple, or Microsoft, or Nextbigthing Inc. annoys me. We already have downloadable video – it’s called satellite. If 500 channels and video-on-demand aren’t enough for you, then maybe Ritalin is in your immediate future.
Here’s my prediction for the domination of downloadable content for audiobooks. The day I can walk into an AmericanÂ car dealership and buy a car with a built-in harddrive and something like Media Player, then 10 years from that day you’ll see more than 50% of audiobook consumption via the net.
And at that point, the company offering you the product is likely to be the same one offering it now (i.e. us). Netflix isn’t just sitting around waiting to be beaten by the likes of Amazon and Apple. They’re just a bit smarter and a bit more prudent.