For years now, the only movie streaming service really worth subscribing to in the U.K. has been Lovefilm, and even this has a number of fairly big drawbacks, which I’ve mentioned a number of times in previous posts. I was delighted, then, when I heard that Netflix was coming to the U.K., but there is another movie streaming service that might be more suitable for casual viewers.
British retail chain HMV has announced the launch of its new movie streaming service called HMVOn-Demand. Unlike Lovefilm and Netflix, HMVOn-Demand doesn’t require a monthly subscription, but instead allows customers to simply rent movies as and when they wish for as little as £3.75 each (approx. $5.82).
While that price could prove to be very costly for movie buffs who are always in front of the TV, for casual viewers HMV’s new service has a number of advantages.
First, you’re not tied into a subscription so you’re not paying for the service when you’re too busy to take advantage of it. And second, all of the movies are streamed straight to your PC — which you can hook up to your TV — and can even be downloaded for viewing offline. That gives the service an advantage over Lovefilm, because you don’t have to order DVDs online and wait for them to arrive in the post.
The service is powered by FilmFlex, the same company that provides content to Virgin Media and Film4. Mark Hodkinson, marketing and eCommerce director of HMV Group, said that “the time is right” to launch HMVOn-Demand:
“With a growing number of consumers now incorporating video-on-demand into their viewing and purchasing habits, the time is right to include a digital service into our own offer.”
As we increasingly turn to digital content for our media needs, HMV will be hoping that its new venture will breathe new life into the company, which has gone from pre-tax profits of £67.3 million (approx. $104.3m), to just £2.6 million ($4.03m) in 2011.
If the company really wants to compete with the likes of Lovefilm and Netflix, however, it will need to introduce a subscription model for those who want to stream movies on a frequent basis. And it’ll need to add support for mobile devices; as things stand, customers can stream only to their PCs.
Do you think you’ll use HMVOn-Demand?