Amazon is due to launch paid video streaming, Netflix aims to expand its similar service, while Blockbuster has detailed a plan for in-store digital downloads, as the rivals tussle to take a lead in the US video rental market.
Amazon will launch its streaming service within the next few weeks, revealed company CEO Jeff Bezos at the All Things Digital conference in San Diego. Currently the retail giant offers downloadable film and TV titles – which can be bought or rented – through its Unbox service. The move follows Mar rumours that Amazon is to revamp Unbox with new features, including HD downloads.
In a bid to bolster its digital strategy, Blockbuster revealed details of an in-store kiosk that will let customers download film titles at its annual meeting. The film rental chain is due to trial the prototype within the next three weeks, reports Associated Press. The service will let users load films to portable devices, with a target download time of 30 seconds. The move comes while the firm is in takeover talks with electronics chain Circuit City, a deal that would expand Blockbuster’s business to incorporate device retail.
At the same time, Netflix held an investor day in San Francisco in which CEO Reed Hastings said developing its existing paid-streaming services could “attract well beyond 20m subscribers worldwide”. Speaking of the firm’s core DVD-through-the-mail rental service, Hastings predicted this service would peak in the next five years, reports Reuters.
More than 2.4bn pay-to-view videos will be streamed online by 2012, compared to 215m in 2008, says ABI Research. Video rentals will drive this growth, accounting for half of the traffic by 2012, according to the prediction.