Why would I rent a digital movie?

Traditionally, the most effective way to add movies to your personal library has been to purchase physical copies on tape or disc. The advent of the internet brought new methods to the table, the most notorious being piracy.

With the proliferation of computers and internet access into everyone’s homes, consumers have been looking to get movie content onto their hard drives. Unfortunately, the most viable method was person to person (P2P) filesharing, colloquially known as piracy.

Services like Amazon Instant Video, iTunes and Google Play can offer you digital movies, but the files end up being tied to the program required to play it, and before the popularity of cloud storage, it was hard to access on multiple devices.

Streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have become popular subscription services that stream content, however streaming content, is not the same as owning it.

New data from industry analyst Generator titled “Online Movies: 2014” tells of a new market platform that encompasses everything streaming services and digital rental services do and then some.

“The online movie market involves the distribution of full-length feature films over the internet. Consumers pay to access online movies using a range of payment models including Electronic Sell Through (EST), Download to Own (DTO), Online Rental, Online Subscription VOD or SVOD (Video on Demand),” reads the report.

The occasionally piracy committed by many viewers was mostly due to limited access. On principle, digital rental seems silly. A consumer can pay around three dollars to watch a movie on a computer (or now on a fancy internet-connected TV or TV stream box), then it disappears forever.

It is the same concept of renting, but it now seems viewers can get the same movie faster and for free through alternate means.

The number of subscribers for Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and HBO Go clearly lean towards the idea that consumers want to pay for content as long as it can get to them easily and conveniently.

With the potential of this new service, which will be marketed in nine countries and is backed by 12 movie studios, including Disney and 20th Century Fox, the average consumer could finally have an easy way to pay, download and own digital movies.

For the consumer who wants a vast movie library but doesn’t have unlimited shelf space, this new service could be a real winner.

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