According to a recent report, Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. plans to start selling digital copies of movies and TV shows via its own digital distribution channel—Xfinity Cable. If implemented, the move will allow the company to compete with the likes of Vudu, iTunes, and Amazon in the growing market for online-delivery of purchased movies—as opposed to rentals and on-demand streaming.
The market for online delivery of purchased movies doubled in the past year and is on track to surpass one billion dollars in annual revenue by the end of 2013. While that figure is a mere six percent of the annual total consumers spend on home entertainment, the fact that it is growing at such a brisk pace makes Comcast's purported move appear rather timely—surely the cable giant does not want to become the next Blockbuster.
Image from Philly.com
Reportedly, Comcast's approach will allow consumers to buy movies using Xfinity set-top boxes. Purchased movies can stream at any time, and buyers will have the option to download movies to their own computers or mobile devices. Purchases will be stored in a "digital locker" that is accessible from computers and mobile devices—users will not need a Comcast subscription to access purchased content.
"The new service could also potentially take a bite out of digital sales at Apple Inc.'s iTunes and Amazon.com Inc.'s Instant Video Store, partly because users wouldn't need an extra device like an Apple TV box or video game console to watch their purchases on their big screen TVs." - source: Philly.com
Since this story is not based on an official press release—the info comes from an anonymous source—there is a chance it is a false alarm. However, the plan does sound like the next logical move for Comcast—and the Associated Press reported it—so I think it will come to pass.
Philly.com thought the story was important enough to assign a staff writer to it, and publish a second article. The new piece is still based on an anonymous source, but it offers a bit more insight into how the service will work. One interesting element is that limited sharing of purchased content is permitted.
Edited by imagic - 11/16/13 at 4:30am