Commentary

Viewers Pay For Web TV? Look At How They're Getting Their DVD Fix

A male friend of mine has certain feelings about women and permanent relationships, such as marriage. He reveals this when talking about a woman named Esmeralda in Las Vegas -- and her specific legal business. "I don't own," he says. "I rent."

I didn't ask for further details -- or about any other above-board commerce in Nevada. But I get it. Some people don't want to be stuck with the same old, same old. Others think long-term relationships have long-term value -- like those who are still buying DVDs.

Movie studios may have to change their thinking when it comes to renting versus buying. The declining DVD sales industry, which has recently given executives many restless nights, has elicited one bit of silver lining: a higher rate of DVR rentals.

It's not just current movie titles, but those pricey multi-box sets of the TV shows "The Sopranos," "Angel," "Frazier" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," that are caught in the cross-hairs.

The cheap rental fees of Netflix and Redbox are fueling the boom. Redbox, for example, charges $1 a movie.

If you have any doubt about this, look at 2008 fourth quarter earning results. Netflix was one of a few media companies to see revenues and profits climb -- right in the middle of a bad recession.

For those thinking about changing to a pay model for the likes of Hulu.com -- and all those mis-named "TV Everywhere" initiatives -- this is good news. U.S. consumers are thinking about paying fees for their entertainment.

But the price model may be much smaller that some might think. Would you pay a quarter to see "Chuck" on NBC? How about 30 cents to see CBS' "The Mentalist"?

Paying for TV online -- if it comes to it -- could surprise some folks. Maybe buying Jay Leno for a nickel might be an accurate value.

Consumers will certainly pay -- but at a discounted level comparable to what NBC will pay for a 10 p.m. drama in a couple of years.

3 comments about "Viewers Pay For Web TV? Look At How They're Getting Their DVD Fix ".
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  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., October 28, 2009 at 12:38 p.m.

    Let's see, YouTube has 82% (give or take) of the online video market and Hulu has about 6%. As soon as Hulu begins to charge for content - that rate will convert to VERY close to 0%. Seriously, ask yourself how much would YOU pay for Hulu? The office concensus here was about 15-20 dollars A YEAR, something tells me they're planning a bit higher rate than that. Learn from History: you cannot charge for what you used to give away, unless you're a hooker and while Hulu is fun, it ain't that much fun. Buhbye Hulu. You heard it here first.

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 28, 2009 at 1:31 p.m.

    If Leno is a nickel, then Letterman should cost a penny.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 28, 2009 at 4:49 p.m.

    Most relationships are rented.;)

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