What I’m Reading: Digital Delivery Edition

Thanks to an unusual travel schedule (including trips to London, Dublin, Boston, and Atlanta), I’ve been completely out of the loop for the last month, so many of these stories are relatively old, but hopefully you’ll find some of them to be of interest:

  • There continues to be quite a bit of uncertainty regarding the future of digital delivery. Will Richmond Videonuze in particular calls into question a report from Bloomberg that predicts that streaming movie views will surpass DVD views in 2012. Richmond even speculates that Ultraviolet could be used to spark an increase in DVD sales, while pointing out that DVDs still play a vital ┬árole in the entertainment economy.
  • Similarly, New Tee Vee tries to read the tea leaves regarding Netflix’s decision to purchase the domain dvd.com and decides (without a whole lot of evidence) that it’s much ado about nothing.
  • David Poland offers a number of reminders about the status of digital delivery, observing that Netflix now lacks any significant studio content in its streaming collections and that DVD sales have finally leveled off after declining consistently from 2006 to about 2010 or so. As usual, Poland’s skepticism for “home media hysteria” is a welcome antidote to some of the more utopian and dystopian claims about media use.
  • The Carsey Wolf Center (note: I am currently part of a research project affiliated with their Connected Viewing Initiative) is featuring an interview with Richard Berger, a senior vice president of Global Digital Strategy and Operations at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on the history and aims of Ultraviolet. Particularly informative is Berger’s discussion of how Sony and other studios transitioned from a video-on-demand to an electronic sell-through model. Perhaps not surprisingly, Berger acknowledges that the biggest challenge facing Ultraviolet is the difficulty of fostering the impulse to collect that drove DVD sales for the last fifteen years or so.
  • Some interesting discussion of the role Hulu is playing in fostering the growth of new TV series.
  • Hacktivision points to some research indicating that people are indifferent–at best–to having Netflix viewing histories be shareable on Facebook and presumably other social media sites. Netflix is currently legally prevented from doing this (thanks to Bork’s Law). Although Reed Hastings continues to lobby to make frictionless sharing of viewing histories legal, but like Peter Kafka (linked above), I suspect that most people would prefer that this information not be public.
  • Mark Stewart speculates about the future of streaming video services in New Zealand, including Netflix and Quickflix, with a follow-up on his personal blog.
  • Finally, Anthony Kaufman has an intriguing article and blog post, both of which speculate on the reasons why we have so little information about the data behind VOD sales and rentals, even for indie films.

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