June 22, 2009

A Filmflex alternative?

Received an email from Andrew Fuller that I thought I share with readers of the blog for comment - let me know what you think.
I recently wrote to Virgin the following:

"This is not so much a suggestion towards a new service, but more of an enhancement to an existing one; Virgin Media provide movies on demand - movies are charged per viewing - via a third party (FilmFlex). It seems to me that Virgin are missing a trick here: Netflix (of the US) provide streaming movies (from a catalogue of 12,000, as opposed to your 500) on demand at a fixed monthly cost (you can watch the same movie as many times as you like, for example). Netflix has signed deals with the likes of Samsung, whereby Samsung, via a firmware update to their ethernet compatible blu-ray players (the P6000 or P6050 in the UK) can include Netflix with their blu-ray players, built-in.
Now, although Netflix is not here in the UK, I believe they will be soon, and then all Samsung need do is update the firmware of their UK version blu-ray players; I have one of these players and I must admit that as soon as this service is here in the UK, I'll be signing up to their monthly subscription.
Why does Virgin not, say, partner with Netflix (or, indeed, Lovefilm) to provide streaming movies for a fixed monthly fee; Netflix movies could also be HD too, due to Virgin's 50mbps service. I believe Virgin Media needs to move away from the dated movie rental format and adopt the subsciption format (which provide much better value)."
Now that Virgin have gone with Samsung to provide the new V+ box, I wonder if the introduction of Netflix of similar would be possible? I believe that the subscription model (as they are doing with music, when the new service comes online) offers better value.


moonblade said...

It would be a good idea, an alternative to Sky movies multi start. I am surprised that virgin don't allow XL users one movie a month, and then “xl+” user four movies ECT. I do see one problem, no subtitles. I know I have ranted about the lack of subtitles before, but they are needed by such a large number of people.

paulselby1 said...

Do we know how long Andrew has been waiting for a reply from Virgin ? Its a cracking idea

Andrew said...

I sent a number of letters out; one to: http://www.virgin.com/Contact/GotABigIdea.aspx

It seems rather silly (considering Virgin's - in my opinion - superior infrastructure to that of the States) that a streaming, on-demand Netflix-like service is not here in the UK, on Virgin; http://www.netflix.com/NetflixReadyDevices?lnkce=nrd-o&trkid=425615&lnkctr=nmf_nfrd and http://www.netflix.com/NetflixReadyDevicesList?lnkce=nrd-l&trkid=425738&lnkctr=nrd-l-n make interesting reading - mainly the second link.

Me and the other half (the lover) find lots of independent films (you know, the arty kind) are only available from the likes of LoveFilm: 1. My life as a dog 2. Hero 3. The Barbarian invasions 4. Before Sunrise 5. Before Sunset 6. About Schmidt 7. Latter Days 8. Another Country 9. Igby goes down 10. Party Monster 11. Anything Else 12. La mala educacion 13. Motorcycle diaries 14. All about my mother 15. Angels in America 16. Happy Together 17. The safety of objects 18. Kolya 19. Central Station 20. Spirited Away 21. Tea With Mussolini 22. Goodbye Lenin! 23. Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (Amelie) 24. Les Temps Qui Rest (Time to leave; in english -- or at least i think it is) 25. The Page Turner.

I'd happily pay what i'm paying to lovefilm to Virgin instead - and a little more, too, for the convenience for having it piped direct to my living room.

Note, I've not heard nothing from Virgin, and do not think I will, to be honest.

A catalogue of 12K (like Netflix streaming on demand) as opposed to just 500 would be fantastic for Virgin customers: no need to every rent out from blockbuster or muck around with sending DVDs (that are usually scratched) back.

If you guys are anything like me (that is, Im rather random) and want to watch movies on the spur of the moment, then DVDs via the post just doesn't cut it.

Andrew said...

I sent a similar, if not slightly different, e-mail to FilmFlex also.

Richardr said...

Do you know whether it would be possible under the rights held by other parties - in particular by Sky and their subscription TV film channels?

Andrew said...

I do not see why not; the Americans overcame this problem; Netflix distributed via DVD (held contracts with various houses: rights owners etc) and then distributed the same DVDs via the internet under the same or slightly modified license.

Here in the UK, Lovefilm are already trialling streaming of their catalogue; so, why cannot Virgin be (or, indeed, FilmFlex)
a little more ambitious.

Their Independent film section is dismal and they only seem to stock up on - what I'd call - the movie industry's version of pop music. Mind you, I did love Transformers (being a 80s child).

Anth B said...
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Anth B said...
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