Producers can expect online sales boom
If EzyFlix.tv’s Craig White is right, Australian producers and other content creators are set to benefit from a massive upswing in download-to-own revenues.
White's company is the first Australian retailer to adopt the Digital HD brand, which means offering consumers the opportunity to buy Hollywood and other films and TV programs several weeks before they are available on DVD and Blu-ray.
In the US all major studios are marketing product on electronic sell-through under the Digital HD banner.
Among the titles that have launched in Australia in the early EST window are The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Muppets Most Wanted, Need for Speed, Sleeping Beauty, Cuban Fury and Sabotage.
Coming soon are Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Monuments Men, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Transcendence and Noah.
“Digital HD is the fastest growing online video segment in the US and has helped to drive a 47% increase in consumer spend in 2013,” said White, CEO of Access Digital Entertainment which owns EzxyFlix.tv. In the US the early EST window typically is 30 days before DVD/VoD.
Here the gap ranges from 1-3 weeks. The Australian EST market was worth $143.6 million in 2013, evenly divided between film and TV content, according to the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association.
That was up 22% on the prior year, and White forecasts that market segment will double in the next five years.
White said Digital HD differentiates his service from Netflix, Quickflix, Presto, Big Pond Movies and Fetch, which do not offer early EST. Taking a swipe at Netflix, which plans to launch in Australia next year, he points out the streaming service does not air the latest releases (apart from original content it commissions) until months or years after initial release.
The digital market has been dominated by subscription and transactional VOD models which rent product. He’s convinced the future lies in digital ownership as the industry increasingly shifts to online distribution from DVD and Blu-ray, which rang up sales of $1.17 billion for bricks-and-mortar retailers last year.
Enhancing EzyFlix.tv’s Digital HD pitch is the UltraViolet capability, which enables consumers to store digital movies in a cloud and access them whenever they like on any connected device.