Disney’s Moviebeam Going Dark

Moviebeam pulled from test markets, going dark | PVRblog PVRblog is out with a post about Disney pulling their Moviebeam VOD service.

1. Disney priced the service way to high (on purpose).

2. There is nothing that would make Disney happier than for the general perception to be that VOD “won’t work.” Never trust your banana deliveries to a Monkey’s Uncle.

3. One of the big problems and hurdles for VOD to get over is the quality problem. It’s probably still too expensive to offer HDTV VOD. The quality needs to be at least DVD quality in order to make the value proposition work. Either that, or you need to be offering me niche content that I quite simply can’t get any other way. Mainstream content must be that good or else what I’m buying must be nichey and longtailish.

4. The reason that Disney priced this service for failure is that they make boatloads and boatloads and boatloads of money on DVD sales. The only possible way they would ever let something threaten their DVD franchise would be if they could also make boatloads and boatloads and boatloads of money on it. People who eagerly shell out money on DVDs (only to have their kids scratch them and have to rebuy them later) will not shell out the same money on a “service.”

5. With Netflix and Blockbuster in the DVD delivery game now, Moviebeam had about a zero chance of success in competing for the dollars of the hardcore movie aficionado.

6. People are not crazy about having yet another box in their already cluttered living room.

Hopefully somebody else will be able to make VOD work — but it will most likely be somebody small and interesting with fire in their belly or somebody big and powerful that has no DVD business to cannibalize, not some bloated old company with a huge vested interest in keeping a legacy business (DVDs) alive.

As MCE builds traction in the market and if Movielink and Cinema Now can ever address the quality issue, then we may have something interesting on our hands.

Mark Cuban, Microsoft, Brightcove, CozmoTV, CinemaNow, Movielink, Netflix, Verizon-SBC-BellSouth, Akimbo, Rupert Murdoch, TiVo, MSN, Marc Andreessen, Brewster Kahle, and yes even you tired old Comcast, your assignment, should you choose to accept it is to capture the enemy’s flag. Spelling and grammar count, extra points for initiative, creativity and a willingness to take chances and burn bridges.

Let the games begin!

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