PC multitasks for American users, says study

MUMBAI: The PC is increasingly being used as a DVD player for movies or TV shows in many US homes-47 per cent of American PC users watched a DVD on their computers, up from 29 per cent in October 2006, says a new research study conducted in May 2007.

15 per cent of online Americans downloaded a full-length movie from the Internet “in the last month,” from any source (including peer-to-peer sites), up from 11 per cent in October 2006. Paid downloads in the last month (movies or TV shows) were up from five per cent of online Americans in October 2006 to eight per cent in May 2007.

Full-length movies are found in 40 per cent of all video-capable digital media players such as a video iPod and 27 per cent have movie trailers stored on their devices.

66 per cent agree with the statement “one day all movies will be available to download at the click of a mouse,” 19 per cent are neutral and only 15 per cent disagree. Agreement is strongest among those aged 30-49 (73 per cent). Despite the expectation of a digital universe of movies in the not too distant future, a majority of consumers do not yet have much awareness of or experience with current online movie options.

The Big Three (iTunes, Walmart, Amazon UnBox)-among itunes.com visitors, 74 per cent know that the site offers movies for download but only 30 per cent have ever visited this section of the site. Among amazon.com and walmart.com visitors, only 10 per cent and eight per cent, respectively, “ever” visited the movie download sections of these sites at some point in the past.

Others-of the dozen or so other licensed online movie destinations covered in the research, movielink.com was visited by nine per cent at some point in the past, followed by the newly-launched bittorent.com (eight per cent), Starz’ Vongo.com (five per cent) and cinemanow.com (five per cent).

The dark horse in terms of potential online movie success is Netflix, which ranks as the number two source for physical DVD rentals in the study, next to Blockbuster. One-in-three Netflix members uses the Netflix online Instant Viewing feature (streaming video).

The online video revolution and the quick migration of TV content to the Internet in the past year is beginning to shape consumer expectations for movies, the report says. Depending on their particular location, American consumers are defaulting to the appropriate screen available-whether a plasma TV at home, a PC at the office or a video iPod while on the go. But there is one common theme regard- less of screen size: and that theme is a desire for instant access.

The increasing demand for instant access to movies is an opportunity for the movie business. And while consumers expect a discount from regular DVD prices, the research suggests that they are willing to pay for movies online as long as attractive current titles are made available with consumer-friendly interoperability and content portability features, the report says.