Video on demand is both a rapidly and widely expanding market of streaming and watching movies and television shows, in which customers are continually at the fore front of both what is shown, and the type of entertainment that gets created, with fans and/or users of the services sometimes dictating the content as well. Video on demand is now available across a variety of different platforms, hardware and services including – computers, smartphones, games consoles, televisions, laptops, tablets and so on. The evolution of digital technology has also had an impact on the amount of companies that provide v.o.d, with the biggest companies being the likes of Netflix and Amazon, both of which offer a large and varied catalogue of entertainment, and a healthy amount of competition for said catalogues, and for the original content that these providers create. We, as of 2016, now also see a wider variety of providers ‘cropping up’, creating more competition for the ‘older’ services like Blink box (now talk talk TV), Now TV, BFI Player etc. All of which leads to the fact that the V.O.D market/industry is now one of the largest entertainment industries on the planet.
As with most media enterprises, Video on Demand had somewhat ‘humble’ and ‘honest’ beginnings, with the ‘big players’ like Netflix starting out as a mail service in 1998, that mail dvd’s to people’s homes, a year after their foundation in 1997. In 2007, nearly a decade after they started the DVD delivery service, Netflix, who saw an opportunity in the expanding online medium, started their streaming service, offering customers “movies and TV series commercial-free, with unlimited viewing on any Internet-connected screen for an affordable, no-commitment monthly fee”. Another impact that digital technology and the advancement of it have had on the evolution of the video on demand market, is the amount of countries that companies like Netflix are able to be based in – Netflix for example, as of 2016, is based in 190 + countries, which is a quite staggering development from a business that mailed dvd’s to people’s homes. Amazon also started out relatively small, but was online a year after they were founded in 1995, starting out as an online bookstore. With it later branching out into objects like dvd’s, apparel, clothing, household items and so on; in 2011 Amazon acquired the final share of Love Film (a dvd by mail service; the UK equivalent of Netflix), bringing it into direct competition with Netflix in the dvd by mail and video streaming industry. The video streaming aspect of Lovefilm has since been folded into Amazon Prime Instant Video, amazon’s online streaming service. The DVD by mail/delivery service is still in operation, and is available via local Amazon websites. The impact of digital technology has definitely changed the various companies involved in the multimedia industry, evolving companies like Netflix and Amazon into two of the biggest companies on the planet.
Despite this, there are also negative impacts involved with the changes in digital technology in the past decade. If we take a look at the multimedia industry as an example; there we find the example of Blockbuster – a once giant franchise that closed down for good in 2013. The DVD and video rental store didn’t stand a chance when DVD by mail and streaming came around, as people could have their films/dvd’s and etc. sent straight to them, or even streamed from their computer, without having to leave their homes. The main appeal of Blockbuster was the association with people’s nostalgia and their memories – but not even that could stop the company from succumbing to financial failure, and being beaten by the competition of companies like Netflix, Lovefilm and Amazon. One could also say that the fate of the aforementioned Lovefilm is another example – Lovefilm was an independent company, with its own unique business structure and brand of service, but was “swallowed up” as it were by Amazon, with the dvd by mail delivery service , its main selling point dwarfed by its now parent companies streaming service. To sum up, whilst the impact of digital technology might have a positive effect In most areas, it can still affect areas like video on demand and the wider multimedia industry in a negative way, with the aforementioned cases of Lovefilm and Blockbuster highlighting this issue.
To conclude, the advent, evolution and frankly sharp rise in digital technology in the past decade has allowed Video on Demand to evolve into something that not many people would have predicted – one of the largest entertainment areas/markets of the 21st Century. The expanse of digital technology has also massively dictated the evolution of how we purchase, view and use video on demand, with various different forms of technology platforms and services providers that host programs like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Now TV, blink box and so on. Despite all of the various arguments for and against V.O.D there is one definite variable that will never change – it is here to stay, and is more than likely going to continue to grow and evolve as digital technology does, whether that affects the media industry in a positive or negative way.
Film and New media assignment two bibliography (word count before: 968):
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- Bradshaw, T and Birchall, J. (2011). Amazon acquires Lovefilm for £200m. Available: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9aa7315e-2482-11e0-8c0e00144feab49a.html#axzz47REimLV6. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
- Taylor, K. (2013). The fall of a Franchise: Blockbuster and 5 Other Chains that went bust. Available: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/229944. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
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 Amazon.com letter to shareholders – 1997. Found at http://media.corporate-ir.net/media_files/irol/97/97664/reports/Shareholderletter97.pdf
 Bradshaw, T and Birchall, J. (2011). Amazon acquires Lovefilm for £200m. Available: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9aa7315e-2482-11e0-8c0e-00144feab49a.html#axzz47REimLV6. Last accessed 01/05/2016.
 Zhu, K. (not shown). Internet-based Distribution of Digital Videos: The Economic Impacts of Digitization on the Motion Picture Industry. Available: http://www.citi.columbia.edu/B8210/read2/Zhu.pdf. Last accessed 01/05/2016.