Amazon and Apple Adding Video Options, Maybe

Sep 01, 2010

George Anderson

In the lead-up to Apple’s
annual event today, speculation
is growing
the company will announce a deal with Netflix
to stream movies to consumers through
its new and cheaper version of the Apple TV set-top

At the same time, according to various reports, Apple is negotiating deals
with the major broadcast television networks to offer programming for
rent (99 cents to rent an episode for 48 hours) through its iTunes service.
Current users can buy episodes from Apple for $1.99.

"Video is an area where they need to strengthen their position," Shaw
Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Bros., told Bloomberg News.

The new Apple TV
is expected to be sold at $99 compared to the previous $229 price point.

to be outdone, according to other reports, Amazon has approached media companies
to start its own Netflix-like online service that would charge consumers a
monthly fee to download older movies and shows to internet-connected televisions,
video game consoles and blu-ray players.

According to a Wall Street Journal report,
Amazon would look to have the service ready for the upcoming holiday season.

Discussion Questions: Where do you see the video download business heading?
Do any of the current players in the business, including Hulu and Google, have
an advantage that you can see?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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7 Comments on "Amazon and Apple Adding Video Options, Maybe"

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Paula Rosenblum
11 years 8 months ago

Believe it or not, I think it comes down to the box the company uses to hook up with either the web or the local network. Not everyone has Ethernet connections to their TV…so it would have to either by HDMI (maybe), USB, component or some other kind of outbound hookup to be a winner.

I know I have a plasma TV circa 2006 that works great but has no Ethernet, and no spare HDMI….

Max Goldberg
11 years 8 months ago

Video is clearly headed towards download. As more and more consumers access the Internet through broadband, the ability to download grows. With downloads consumers can watch what they want instantly.

No one company has a clear advantage. Hulu has been around for quite a while (in Internet years), but I’ve found its delivery to be inconsistent and its ad placement choppy. Apple traditionally offers consumers a more intuitive experience and should seamlessly marry Apple TV with televisions. The company that makes it easiest for consumers to hook up the box and watch what they want, at a value price, will win consumer loyalty.

Ed Rosenbaum
11 years 8 months ago

This is going to be an interesting battle of the industry giants. I don’t see a clear-cut winner today. Maybe two years from now we will see the dust settle and one, two or possibly three clear leaders. Somehow my leaning is toward Amazon or Apple. Now what am I going to need for my new TV to not become a relic? My BlackBerry is only a couple years old and has already been “replaced” maybe six times by newer technology.

Ben Ball
11 years 8 months ago

Having been an outspoken voice for “not so fast” on VOD for a long time, integrity compels me to say, “this is getting close.” I don’t have the numbers–but when Paula is referring to her circa 2006 TV as “limited capability” it tells me that a substantial number of consumers are now moving/moved into the world of Ethernet/HDMI capability. And now both cable and satellite systems are fully capable of high speed digital delivery.

Having said that, I stick by my comments yesterday on location based services–both will be around for quite a while. With HDTVs that have multiple HDMI and Ethernet inputs, Digital Cable with VOD, and an internet connection, not to mention a substantial home library of favorite movies–we still visit redbox at least twice a month and my wife even treks to Blockbuster occasionally to find something she just wants to watch that night. Heck, we even still go to the movie theater occasionally. As my kids used to say–“it’s all good.”

Jeff Weitzman
Jeff Weitzman
11 years 8 months ago
Inexorable march toward downloaded video. However, a few monkey wrenches are kicking around, waiting to be thrown into the works. Critical mass of capable televisions/STBs is not one of them–that will happen at a fast enough pace that it won’t slow things down. Business considerations could be the problem. Movie rentals are a done deal–Blu Ray will stick around because it will continue to have the best picture quality, all the extras, and appeal to people who like to build libraries of titles. DVDs are dead because downloads are already better quality. The arena to watch is television, and here you need to look at who wins and loses. Right now, pay-per-episode TV is expensive and generally confined to very occasional watchers or people catching episodes they missed (or as I did once, buying a series when I already had two other series being recorded at the exact same air time). If the content distributors like Apple go after the cable subscription dollars, cable companies will fight back. Conveniently, they generally control the high-speed internet… Read more »
Gene Detroyer
11 years 8 months ago
The biggest implications here are neither for the video download business nor for the type of hardware that people use. The big implication is what happens to commercial TV as we know it. Consider situation #1–In my house we watch no commercials (except on sports and news). We DVR every show we want to watch and speed through the commercials when we view it. Even if we are available at the time the show is on in real time, we will view something else and give the DVR a head start so we can skip the commercials in the real time show. Consider situation #2–Cable providers make many shows available On-Demand at no cost. And these are some of the better shows on. A better alternative to watching the same show with 20% commercials. Consider situation #3–I pay Netflix $10 a month for unlimited downloads of movies. The TV shows I can download are essentially free to me. So who stands to benefit? Here is the winner. The company that can give me access to… Read more »
John Crossman
John Crossman
11 years 8 months ago

This is going to be interesting to watch. I agree that the industry is going to evolve and further develop. The best retailers will make good use of it.


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