It seems counterintuitive that an electronic download service should promote itself around the idea that everyone who places an order on their set-top box should receive a copy of that same movie through the post.There had been assorted speculation in the run-up to Sky’s press briefing on Tuesday morning – an embargo had been put in place until the following day – but no one was really expecting Sky Store director Nicola Bamford to hold up a brown cardboard envelope alongside the recently redesigned Sky EPG.
The idea is almost the reverse of what Amazon has done with music. You buy the physical product from the internet store, which then gives you the right to listen to an electronic copy. Arguably, it doesn’t matter which way round it is.
The unsaid twist in the tail was that something tangible like a DVD stood more chance of being lost than Sky’s download to keep electronic file, which would remain available if the customer changed boxes or temporally deleted the file to create more space on the box.
It is well known that people who like movies, like movies, typified by the stat that while 40% of the country subscribes to Sky, they are responsible for 50% of DVD purchases.
This offer, as the number of available titles builds from the initial 200, to the 1,400 available on the Store as a whole. This will grow as additional studios are added.
What was concentrating my mind was who would lose as Sky built this revenue stream? The answer is probably a mix of retailers, we already know that electronic sell through and DVD by post services have seen off Blockbuster and countless family run video stores around the world.
Amazon is an obvious target, but maybe also the supermarkets, not least Tesco with its Blinkbox service may also have their lunch eaten.
Does having the ability to purchase a movie right in front of you provide for more of an impulse service than seeing the cover on a supermarket shelf?
Certainly it underlines the increasing trend for retailers of all types to create the best environment to sell there products. Same as it ever was.