The Cinematech blog posts “Ten Pivotal Events of 2006, from the Intersection of Entertainment and Technology,” that’s chock full of insight and trends. Pay attention to the section labeled “The Future.”
6. Web sites including iTunes, Amazon, Vongo, and Guba offer full-length downloadable features, joining CinemaNow and Movielink
2006 was the first year you could purchase a digital version of a movie to own (rather than just rent one), and the first year that some sites allowed you to burn a downloaded movie onto a DVD. The process is still too complicated, and the pricing isn’t enough of a discount from the DVD price. (That’s thanks, in part, to pressure exerted on the studios by big retailers like Wal-Mart.) Best pricing offer so far: Vongo’s all-you-can watch for $9.99 a month.
The Future: Movies get easier to download to PCs and laptops, and also easier to “beam” directly to boxes that sit atop the television set, like an Akimbo or a TiVo. That, along with more reasonable pricing, will usher in a world where truly any movie is available on demand. I also think we’ll eventually see studios offering to give us access to fragments of movies, perhaps supported by advertising, or sold for small change… allowing a blogger to incorporate a short sequence from the original “King Kong” into a review of the Peter Jackson 2005 version, or allowing a movie fan to create a site dedicated to the best car chases of all time, and embed each one in the site. Why force people to buy the whole thing, when you can generate additional revenue monetizing movies by the slice?