Lovefilm calls in the DRM brigade for media player push
They're all at it
Lovefilm is the UK's answer to Netflix. And like Netflix it has a pressing problem. No, not Blockbuster.
It has reams of customers, 1.4 million all told, for its DVD-by-mail rental service. But for how long? Downloads and streaming is the way forward, baby - onto TV, phone and computer - the three screens strategy, as Virgin has taken to calling it.
Netflix is doing well enough on the streaming front, but Lovefilm? It has the mail order customers and it has its own streaming media player. You can access this online or as an app on some Sony and Samsung TV sets. Does anyone do this?
Anyhows, the company is not sitting on mail-rental laurels. Today it signed up a US company called Widevine to supply the digital rights management (DRM) and video optimisation technology for its streaming service. Presumably, this will give rights holders confidence that their content will remain unpirated.
Lovefilm may have started in the UK, but it also has subscribers in Germany and Scandinavia.
Good luck to the company, but Lovefilm is unlikely to emerge as a winner in the internet media player wars. And I am speaking as a fan.
Standing in the way are, in no particular order, Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon (maybe), the BBC, BT, Virgin, Sky.. and that's just in the UK.
Poor web site indicates they won't be able to execute
I've been a long-time subscriber to LoveFilm and the web-site has become steadily worse over the years. It started focused and quick but has now become slow, bloated and difficult to use. This does not bode well for any enhanced / expanded online streaming; if they lack the management / technical skills to get a simple web site right then they have no chance with a more complex business model.
Worries about pirating?
Umm, let me see,,,dvd through the door -> computer -> AnyDVD -> NAS array -> Media player.
They Have a Chance
Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon (maybe), and other similar players exist in the USA. Yet Netflix has the dominance there because they've provided a straightforward service the others haven't. If Lovefilm can get an app on the 360 and PS3 they could be in with a chance.