Will 2012 be the Year of Streaming Video?
For the first time ever, streaming video could overtake DVD and Blu-ray disc viewing in 2012, according to a recent forecast by the media intelligence firm IHS Screen Digest. Could we be seeing the beginning of the end for physical media such as DVD's and Blu-ray discs? How much more "extras" do studios and distributors have to stuff in the packaging to make it worthwhile to buy a disc than it is to just stream the movie instead?
According to the forecast we are definitely going to experience a decline, with physical viewings of DVD and Blu-ray discs dropping from 2.6 billion in 2011 to 2.4 billion in 2012. This while legal online viewings are set to more than double from 1.4 billion in 2011 to 3.4 billion in 2012.
Many people are comparing the crossover from disc to streaming with movies the same way Apple and iTunes impacted the market for physical CD's in the music industry. Dan Cryan, IHS senior principal analyst said of the transition from disc to online, "...it's likely to take time: almost nine years after the launch of the iTunes Store, CD's are still a vital part of the music business." Although true, the focus is more and more going to be on the Internet as a delivery vehicle, especially for products that lend themselves so well to digital delivery, like music and movies.
The IHS Study also broke down digital consumption by provider with Netflix and Amazon's Prime accounting for 94% on all online movie consumption last year. This, despite the fact that the six major studios have effectively choked off Netflix of many high profile movies and initiated their own streaming service called UltraViolet to compete. UltraViolet, who recently secured distribution in Wal-Mart stores, still requires consumers to bring their DVD and Blu-ray discs in-store and pay a fee to have them transitioned to an online digital locker.Continued on the next page