Amazon and iTunes Change Nothing

Many conversations with my Dad prompt some interesting thought and topical discussion so I figured I’d elaborate and share my thoughts here. He emailed me earlier this week pointing to the new Amazon service, Unbox. Additionally, he linked to the iTunes movie store. Does this mean the end of Blockbuster?

Nope, this hardly changes anything.

Sure, we can download movies online now, but does that mean ‘build it and they will come’? No. Unfortunately thats the business model when we look at technology these days. For companies like Amazon and Apple their reach is huge. Rolling out services like these will eventually catch some market share in their massive nets. But is it worth the cost? I don’t have any numbers… but I doubt it.

It’s too early to tell but why why don’t I think ‘they’ll come’? Simple, we don’t use our computers for long-term entertainment. We spend a few minutes looking at YouTube. We watch “viral” 30 second commercials. We don’t sit down and think “this would be a great place to sit for the next two hours”. Well, that’s not true, I say that, but that’s becuase I love my 24″ LCD. But seriously, we are a fast-paced society. I told my Dad we can liken our online video entertainment to that of Vaudeville. We can see a bunch of neat stuff pretty quickly. When and if we have time to sit down and watch a movie it’s not going to be trapped in Windows Media Player or on the bus with my 30G iPod.

Even if the content is portable do I want to watch Pirates on a screen smaller than my fist. No! Movies are, despite their appearance, social forms of entertainment. You sit down in a dark room with another human (or many) and you enjoy it together. You laugh together, get scared together, you feel feelings together.

I don’t think Apple and Amazon can start changing the way we enjoy movies. Prove me wrong…