Do you hear the people stream? The attack of VODzilla.co
Ivan Radford | On 26, May 2013
“Everything I might ever want to watch is easily available on-demand.”
65 per cent of people with access to video on-demand services in the US said that in a survey for tech company Vubiquity.
That’s a lot of people. And a lot of everything. Compared to 10 years ago, the way we watch TV shows and movies has completely changed. That survey was conducted at the end of last year. Since then, the landscape’s shifted even further.
LoveFilm started it all when it launched a UK streaming platform in December 2011 with titles available to watch instantly. Hot on their heels came Netflix in January 2012. It won over 1 million UK and Ireland subscribers within seven months.
Oh yes, video on-demand is here. And it’s only just getting started.
Gone are the days when people rely on linear programming, watching episodes of a TV series one-by-one, a week at a time. Now, encouraged by iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player and others, we’re turning into a nation of what people call “binge viewers”. After all, why struggle to keep up with The Killing on BBC4 when you can pay a fiver a month and devour as much as you like, whenever you like?
It’s little wonder that Sky’s entered the fray too, launching Now TV in July last year, offering Sky Movies content (and Sky Sports) to those willing to pay online subscriptions.
And we haven’t mentioned that digital behemoth iTunes yet, let alone all the other TVOD (transactional video on demand) services, such as Blinkbox from Apple’s fast-growing rival Tesco. Even Domino’s are now offering Lionsgate rentals alongside your takeaway pizza – can you imagine picking up a VHS from your local Chinese back in the 1990s?
As the digital revolution takes hold, some are heralding the death of cinema or lamenting the demise of celluloid. But for indie filmmakers, VOD platforms give them a way to reach audiences without the cost of old-school distribution. For people who can’t make it to London’s arthouse cinemas to catch a film showing once on a Wednesday afternoon, the chance to view it online is a vital form of access. Curzon Artificial Eye have started their own superb Home Cinema system, with week-long rentals that are actually cheaper than most of their ticket prices. Meanwhile, independent platform Distrify gives filmmakers a way to release their titles on their own pay-per-view terms.
With Sky locking down the rights for all the latest releases as soon as possible, things are hopping on and off VOD platforms every week.
So how can a service stand out? Switch from being a distributor to being a programmer. That’s why Netflix splashed $100m on a big-budget remake of House of Cards this year, an exclusive series starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher. It was a huge statement – backed up by a total spend of around $300m on original content due for release in the next three years. Arrested Development season four arrives today too, while LoveFilm’s Amazon has six kids shows and six comedy TV series in the pipeline.
But with so many choices, the market is starting to get crowded. And confusing. And really exciting.
What’s on Netflix? What’s good on LoveFilm? Is there a way to watch Game of Thrones without having to torrent it?
This is why VODzilla.co is stomping into town.
The first UK’s video on-demand magazine (probably), we’ll be reviewing the latest VOD releases, letting you know what’s on what platform – and, more importantly, whether it’s worth watching.
We’ve got a searchable directory of Netflix and LoveFilm titles so you can decide which of the two services is worth your precious subscription money.
And, for those nights when you just can’t decide what to see, we’ve got the perfect solution: our very own random button.
Chuck in some interviews, DVD reviews, VOD news and release dates and you’ve got yourself a new home entertainment hub. One that comes with its own dinosaur. He’s called Vince.
VODzilla.co is here. And we’re only just getting started.