Wednesday 3 March 2010

Does download dip denote disaster?

In his article for FT Online, "Demand Dips for Online Films", Matthew Garrahan observes that recent research shows a decline in US consumer demand for movies online -- the business model on which the movie industry was pinning its hopes as an income replacement scheme to deal with plummeting sales of once-popular physical DVDs. While sales of digital films rose sharply in 2007 and 2008, media research group Screen Digest reports that 2009 sales, predicted to hit $360m for 2009, crept in at a modest $291m. Whether (as Screen Digest suggests) consumers have been deterred by an array of competing online platforms that prevent viewers from watching digitally downloaded films on the devices of their choice, or whether some other factor is at play -- P2P, pirate products or just download fatigue -- is unclear to this writer. Adds Garrahan (and this is perhaps the worst news):
"The private equity and hedge fund money that poured into the industry fuelling a production boom has evaporated following the financial crisis, leaving the studios desperate for new revenue sources".

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