Recently, a website popped up out of the blue, designed by a group of web junkies that wanted to challenge themselves to create an app for streaming movies that was innovative and user friendly. The program was called Popcorn Time and was indeed everything that they hoped it would be. It worked similar to a site like Netflix with one enormous difference. All of the movies that were running online were top rated and were current feature films of great acclaim such as “Gravity”, “American Hustle” and the like available at your fingertips. Many believed that such an app was too good to be true and that is primarily because it was. The app was inundated with a litany of legal notices quickly after it became publicly available and was deemed illegal and shut down, much to the dismay of the many that had installed the app.
Popcorn Time was translated into 32 languages for users all over the world and had been downloaded in every country. It proves that the need for a tool such as this is in high demand and these designers provided a perfect model by which to formulate one. It left the providers that are out there such as Hulu or Netflix or iTunes looking pathetic with a shoddy selection and exorbitant fees lacking in value.
With music, users can get a subscription for services such as Spotify that enable them to listen to the kind of music that they want to hear, any place and at any time whereas this in unavailable with movies and television. The selection offered is outdated and expensive and people are becoming tired of that but it is nowhere near changing.
There is no comprehensive service and the ones that do exist force users into settling for less than what they want unless the spread themselves over a variety of different services, all applying fees that can really drive the cost up for users. And it won’t happen soon as Hollywood has control over how their properties are released. There’s a cycle that provides the films to first run theatres first then outlets such as hotel pay per view next and finally it’s distributed to DVD or Blu-Ray and digital pay services. It’s probably a year before it hits the cable movie networks and way, way beyond that, services like Netflix can get their hands on them. This is likely why by the time they reach the services, they’re old news and the selection seems worn and drab.
Of course, this is all driven by the almighty buck. Exclusive rights are exorbitant and the players like Netflix just can’t ante up for first run movies even at the stage where they’re offered to channels like HBO and such. Even if they were to raise their subscription rate, it would be impossible to come up with the asking price for properties that are still hot. Because many of the services request some form of exclusivity once they do get to purchase them, they are divided between the various different options out there, leaving consumers to make a choice and hope that their service will carry the shows and films they’re interested in or else, opt to subscribe to all of them.