Skip to comments.TV Tech: The Biggest Flop of 2011?
Posted on 08/15/2011 3:36:00 PM PDT by Las Vegas Dave
Washington, D.C. (August 14, 2011) -- In a year in which the economy has taken a number of dips, it's not surprising that it's been a rough seven months for the TV technology sector. For instance:
* Sales of 3D TVs (and 3D theatrical movies) have actually declined from their anemic first year numbers;
* Cable and satellite TV services have lost subscribers in record numbers;
* The number of retail video stores has shrunk further despite Dish Network's rescue of one-time industry giant Blockbuster Video.
* Noting stagnant TV sales and other problems, CE giant Best Buy has reported declining profits for two straight financial quarters.
Yeah, it's been a bad year so far for a lot of folks. Lots of failures; lots of flops.
But in my humble opinion, the biggest flop of 2011 has been DIRECTV's $30 Video on Demand service, called Home Premiere.
The controversial service charges $30 per viewing of movies made available 60 days after their theatrical release and at least one month before their DVD or Blu-ray launch. Prior to Home Premiere's launch on DIRECTV, several Hollywood studios suggested it could be a game changer, eventually leading to moviegoers being able to watch new films at home on the same day they are released in theaters.
Industry publications and the mainstream media echoed this theme, quoting theater owners who threatened to pull certain movies from their theaters if the studios didn't back down. And the hysteria rose when reports surfaced that Comcast and online VOD service Vudu, owned by Wal-Mart, were getting ready to launch Home Premiere soon after DIRECTV's debut.
But nearly five months later, Comcast and Vudu have yet to add Home Premiere to their VOD lineups -- and DIRECTV often doesn't even list a Home Premiere selection in its VOD menu. And when the satcaster does offer a $30 VOD movie, it doesn't even promote it on its VOD Home Page.
Clearly, DIRECTV subscribers have decided that $30 is too much to watch any film, much less one that will be released on Blu-ray or $4.99 VOD in just a month. And it's equally clear that DIRECTV has decided that $30 VOD is a loser, or else the satcaster would be trying to promote it rather than all-but-burying it.
Of course, this is not very surprising. I predicted last spring that the concept was doomed because of the exorbitant price tag. (And I should note that other industry observers forecast the same.)
But if you could time tunnel back to the spring and listen to the many industry "experts" who said this would be the beginning of the end of the movie theater, well, you would be reminded how often a new product is over-hyped.
My new prediction is that the studios and DIRECTV will take a breather this fall and bring back Home Premiere in 2012 with a new price tag ($20) and a new window (30 days after a movie's theatrical debut). The buy rates will rise a bit, but trust me, it will have little impact still on theatrical sales.
Until the studios decide to go all in -- and offer movies at home on the same day as their theatrical debut (and close to the same price) -- Home Premiere will flop.
And in 2011, it's the industry's biggest flop of all.
What good is it, if the movies suck?
I could give them all lots of advice.
Cable and satellite subcriptions are dropping because there is programming on the internet. Some people see it as redundant to have both cable TV and internet, just as some people have given up on landline phones since they mostly use a cellular phone.
And cable / satellite TV is dropping because there is so much inane programming on nowadays. Channel after channel of stupid reality shows, full of people swearing and acting like idiots is not the entertainment many people want to see.
Video stores are losing tons of business because of on-line movies and other video on demand. There are numerous web sites out there. Again, it’s redundant to go to the video store if you can get it cheaper on-line.
And, those of us who work for a living have a limit on total “screen time”, whether it’s TV, movies, or internet. You have to choose how you spend your time, and if people find they aren’t watching TV very much, it’s clear they decide to get rid of cable TV.
But my pet peeve is the programming nowadays. How many times can you watch shows with Snooki and her crasser imitators, and their boyfriends, doing one bizarre thing after another?????
To pay that much and sit through a dud, would not be fun. Bad enough when done in a theater. at considerably less money, and probably far better sound than one gets VOD. Unless you have a killer sound system. In the home arena it is hard to keep up with the digital sound changes that seem to come yearly.
I got rid of tv....I think two years ago. Can’t remember how long it’s been. I have a roku player for streaming netflix. I use that maybe once a week.
I agree, but couldn't live without the live sports.
Live sports in HD on a high quality big screen tv is just awesome IMHO.
Well worth the money.
That’s EZ. 3D.
How about a zero price, thru your local library and inter-library loan system. I watch the DVDs on my laptop computer.
And in a world in which youtube.com and sites like it have clips of shows which you hear people talking about, you can see and hear it on demand, without having to have cable or satellite TV.
For example, if you were eager to see the time that Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked out on Bill O’Reilly on “The View”, that’s readily available on-line. Ditto the time Whoopi said “rape rape” about the Roman Polanski case.
Or if you want to see the episode of “I Love Lucy” in which Lucy and Ethel worked in the candy factory and ate too much candy, you can find that somewhere on-line.
As technology changes, the ways in which we all get information and entertainment will keep changing too.
And to show how some people fall behind on keeping up with technology, I must confess that I have no idea what an HTPC is, or what the homebrew attachment would do.
I can’t see the need for 3D, either in my TV or most movies at the theater.
I mean, how “sexy” is it to go on a date with a beautiful woman, who took hours to look this good, only to put on those dorky glasses? And quite frankly, would I want to be seen dead in those glasses when trying to impress her?
That’s a good point too. Youtube has become the repository of everything.
I thought that once, too, but the players drove me away. On Sundays and Monday nights, etc., I have all that old NFL time to do things I really want or need to do. And to think I used to have NFL season tickets some years ago! I don't even watch college anymore, so I have my Saturdays back, too.
Internet downloading is a huge game changer, and cable/sattelite companies know they have peaked.
Today, for example; on my business trip I watched downloads on my iPad in HD. Then discovered that I could have been using free internet offered on the plane.
Just got my first television in eight years last month...you are CORRECT! Watching football in HD is GREAT!
Heh, funny you say that. Once I got my television installed, I started fiddling around with the built in web browser, and came across an old “I Love Lucy” episode “Lucy Tells The Truth”...it was hilarious, yet sad.
When I compared it to what is on today...pathetic. Reality shows...ugh.
Watching 3D TV makes you sick. Why would someone actually buy one on purpose?
Unlike 3-D TV, 3840 x 2160 TV's don't need special viewing glasses, and people who've seen it say that the resolution is so sharp that it looks like seeing a moving version of a picture taken by a medium-format still camera. The only problem: how do you deliver such extreme quality video to the TV? It may require higher-density Blu-ray discs (or going to holographic-storage optical discs) and video delivered by satellite or optical-fiber cable TV connections.
Reference bump ... ;-)
I use Veetle as a player to watch movies that are curently in the theatres or rental. There are sports channels, but the selection is poor.
Does anyone have any alternatives?
Can you add my wife, Jenbean, to the list? She works for Direct TV. Thanks!
But when the internet provider stands to lose revenue because they also sell satellite or cable, they start to degrade the internet service as a marketing scheme. Even VoIP suffers because the phone company wants you to pay for phone service OR ELSE.
Our entire towns DSL service has been suffering for two months because CenturyLink won’t fix it. They take our monies for upgrades to 10 or 15 mbit and then consistently deliver less than 1 mbit.
Same here. I am a baseball and football fan, and I can’t see any other way of getting sports programming other than cable or satellite. I am fed up, though, with Fox and others showing obnoxious previews for their disgusting shows during sports programs. Lots of kids watch the World Series, for example, and Fox shows previews that are really suggestive. It makes me angry. Children are exposed to so much smut these days.