Online video viewership was up, with more and more consumers accessing content on all sorts of devices including cell phones, Xboxes, iPods and portable gaming devices.
In 2009, as always, consumers vote for convenience with their wallets. This year they got some tangible, arm's-reach style convenience from the platform video world.
2009 saw the maturation of Netflix's partnership with Xbox, and the addition of competitor PS3 as a second distribution channel, which made it even easier for customers to access their Netflix queues whenever they wanted to watch a movie. Although the video quality is somewhat wanting and the selection is limited, it's still a great step.
Elsewhere, Disney gave us a peek at its Keychest initiative, which will bring the studio's current and classic films to multiple devices. Best Buy announced a partnership with CinemaNow that will allow customers to download premium content and watch it on multiple screens. Blockbuster revealed plans to provide movies on SD Cards that would last up to 30 days, in a move the retailer hopes will compete with Redbox.
Yes, it was a big year indeed. So, what should we expect in 2010?
Consumer convenience will continue to be a driving force in video innovation. Users will get more access to the content they want, when and where they want it.
TV Everywhere, which Time Warner announced over the summer, is a beautiful idea: for a fee, cable operators will give subscribers multi-platform access to whatever is on cable, at any time, from any place, on any device.
This notion has caught fire, with Comcast and other major players announcing their own versions of this exciting platform. I expect that, along with the new initiatives movie studios unleash, 2010 will be the year of TV Everywhere -- especially as versions of this idea start becoming available to consumers.
In 2010, cable operators will sort out the significant technical challenges TV Everywhere presents, and will be able to actually bring the product online.
That's great news for premium content holders sitting on libraries that they're eager to monetize. It's also great news for the consumer, because 2010 will be the year users will get unfettered access to the content they want, on their schedule, and on whatever device is closest at hand.
In other words, TV Everywhere trumps a worrisome cut-rate service like Redbox, because users won't have to drive to 7-11 to pick up a movie. They'll have an attractive, easy-to-navigate interface on their laptops or mobile screens that will point them to premium television and film entertainment content.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent defines his mission as putting Coke "within arm's reach of desire" for anyone in the world. American consumers should gain a similar level of access to their favorite movies and television shows in 2010.
Here's to another great year!