HD Beat: Akimbo is a great service aggregating a bunch of micro content through Media Center. In fact, it’s probably the most significant Online Spotlight partnership to date between Microsoft and a content provider. The biggest drawback in my opinion regarding Akimbo today is the fact most of Akimbo’s programming is not in high def. This is changing quickly though and it looks like based on some comments that Akimbo CEO Josh Goldman made today that they are in fact heavy in pursuit of high def downloadable content:
Josh Goldman: “”I’m a huge HD fan myself and have been a big advocate of Akimbo’s download model being the best way to deliver HD content today. And I’ll stop being non-committal on the topic… this is a good place to make it known. Yes, AkimboHD is coming and works right now on current HD-capable MCE devices. We’re showing AkimboHD demos now to some press and partners. We haven’t officially “announced” it or launched it simply because we don’t want to launch with just a few demo titles. We’re signing HD content deals now so that when AkimboHD launches there will be some good content there.”
Hot Donkey! Hopefully we get better HD content than the few IMAX titles from CinemaNow. Thanks, Chris!
Update: Two negative responses back thus far for the Akimbo service from my comments. Anonymous says: “My main gripe with this service is that basically you are being asked to ultimately pay to pay more. For the second day I when through the available content on MCE and almost everything has some addition fee tied to it, and it will then expire. The first part is just annoying. The second part is just lame, it’s a DVR damit it’s nobodies business how long I want to pay rent on the content that I bought.”
I agree that this is a problem. Even if expensive, I think Akimbo should offer a no fee service with VOD fees for everything as well as a all in one fee with unlimited no fee access to everything. Having three options (pay a big monthly fee and no per use charges, pay no monthly fee but everything on a per use basis, and the current hybrid plan) would better serve the needs of potential customers.
I think they should also have a filter to only show free programming.
As much as I personally like the idea of Akimbo and the long tail microcontent that it brings to Media Center, I simply don’t watch that much television anymore. In the last six months I think I’ve watched Six Feet Under and a couple of episodes of CSI at best (all in high def of course). I’m not going to be willing to pay $9.99 per month for something I won’t use. I would be willing though to occasionally browse the service and if something seemed interesting download it and pay at the time. Some of my money to them is better than none.
The second negative response has to do with the fact that Akimbo is requiring credit card information in order to use the 31 day free trial. I agree that this is a poor way to showcase your service with people. I went to try the service last night and got to as far as the credit card info and then quit. I’m sure many others quit at this point as well. People don’t want to give you their credit card info in order to try a service out. What that tells me is that it is going to be a pain in the ass to cancel the service if I don’t like it. It makes me think about how difficult it used to be to cancel an AOL account. I think Akimbo will lose more people who abandon the trial at the point when asked for credit card info than they will lock in people because they are too lazy to cancel after the fact. If the service is that good, let it stand on it’s own. If people like it they will be willing to provide you their credit card info later. Perhaps restrict the adult content without credit card info if this is a concern — but I think it’s a mistake to require this upfront.
I really like the idea of Akimbo (and especially high def Akimbo) but I think the model needs to be tweaked a little.