So far this week from the IFA show in Berlin we have heard from Sony who is offering Music Unlimited (I am certain video will follow), and 3D video and tablet computers have dominated the scene. We have also heard from Apple this week and we know that Amazon is shopping around for content partners for a VOD subscription offering. Now Samsung, who now has an iPad competitor, is also going for the video-on-demand gusto with a new BlinkBox service application for its Internet@TV platform. It is certainly a great time to be a video content provider is it not? BlinkBox is already a major player in the UK (the leading player some say), with something like 1.3 million unique users a month, market offering 4,000 films and 2,500 TV programs. Now with its application as the de facto VOD offering on Samsung Internet-connected TVs it could see some great growth.
Michael Comish, the Chief Executive at blinkbox, says: "This is a significant development for blinkbox in the increasingly important and exciting internet enabled TV market. These devices are not only revolutionising how we consume media, but how we, as a business, interact with our ever-growing consumer base. Research shows that TV based viewing is driving growth accounting for 60% of the total VOD market while sales of Internet connected TV devices will to rise to 375m globally in 2013."
Andy Griffiths, Vice President, Consumer Electronics Samsung UK continues, "Adding the blinkbox service to the Samsung Apps store is great news for our existing and future customers. Internet@TV offers customers a gateway to access great content in an exciting new way that unlocks the full potential of our connected TVs. Services like blinkbox will offer our customers more variety and choice from our platform".
The question is, will it only be limited to the UK? All those pesky international licensing deals are probably going to limit the availability of the content in one way or another. I went digging through the BlinkBox Terms of Service and came up with this gem:
17.1. The Website and a selection of Free blinkbox Services can be accessed by you from any location worldwide. You may also send Blinks via email and SMS text message to and from any location worldwide unless otherwise indicated on the Website.
Certain Free blinkbox services and purchase and rental digital content will be restricted by using geo-blocking software to prevent you from accessing them from outside the UK for which we have licences.
You agree not to attempt to access, or not to attempt to circumvent the geo-blocking software to purchase or view Movies & TV from anywhere outside the territories for which we have licences.
Where are those specific licenses? Well, of course, they don't tell you that. My guess is England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Perhaps Ireland itself as well and maybe some ancillary islands (nice word hey? ancillary...)
Either way, if Samsung is making these types of deals over here, that means they are certainly looking for someone to supply VOD on their TVs in other regions. I wonder if they've spoken to Amazon and Netflix?
For the record, I did sign up at Blinkbox and this is what I got:
Not very promising now is it? But at least the US and the UK are covered, many times over, with video-on-demand options. Since that's the majority of online video consumption, I guess it stands to reason. However, we seem to be some point well past saturation now. If each TV maker will have a separate provider and each provider has different content that means that consumers are going to need multiple accounts to get to it all. I can't say that I agree with that approach personally. I would much rather have one place to get all my media, like a TESCO or Wal-Mart for online media.
Then again, if that service comes about, it probably won't be available in my country.