An intriguing new report from consulting professionals KPMG finds that the overwhelming majority of popular and critically-acclaimed movie titles are available to U.S. consumers through legal online channels.
The study, entitled “Film and TV Title Availability in the Digital Age,” took into account premium content across 34 major video on-demand (VOD) platforms during December 2013, where it was able to find 94% of the movie titles in its sample ready and easily accessible for paying viewers.
The study cuts through some of the confusion in the industry as to what’s available and where to find it. Some lament the movie and television sector’s varied partnerships and streaming solutions, especially compared to the music industry’s current “one and done” model, where any individual service like Spotify or Rdio essentially provides the same content and all the listener need do is choose.
Although the situation is somewhat more complicated for lovers of film and television, it’s not as difficult to navigate as some may claim, and is broken down here into four main types of service:
- Transactional (Owned) – iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play etc.
- Transactional (Rental) – iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play etc.
- Subscription VOD – Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime etc.
- Ad-supported VOD – Hulu Classic, Crackle etc.
Across these four categories, 34 prominent services offering content to the U.S. market were selected. 808 unique film titles and 724 individual TV shows were carefully investigated for availability, all of them popular in terms of mainstream appeal and/or critical acclaim. Of the movies, only 6% were unavailable on the services searched, leaving the massive 94% mentioned earlier available for online consumption. The TV titles performed almost as well, with 85% of the shows available via at least one online VOD service.
Lead researcher Guy DiPiazza explains that the report provides a “snapshot of the industry and U.S. market,” confirming the creative industry’s general hypothesis that popular movies and TV shows are widely available online, and in the high quality formats that today’s customers demand. The quality is important, given that many illegal sources provide appalling user experiences and are riddled with malware that can corrupt the device used to view illegal content. The legal options covered by this study considered only “premium, high quality content,” served up by services with the legitimate licensing agreements that compensate creators and rights holders.
DiPiazza also acknowledged the study’s limitations as a snapshot, noting that future studies of the same type would allow trends to be teased out, as well as the potential to examine availability across different devices and markets outside of the U.S. The likelihood is that availability would actually increase the impressively high 94% availability rate, however, as this current study doesn’t include other viewing options, such as TV Everywhere services or the “watch later” options that many broadcasters are now adding to their online repertoire.
The takeaway from this report is that viewers have really never had it better. In addition to the traditional ways to find the movies and TV shows we love, there are more legal online movie sites than ever before, and they’re delivering the goods when it comes to title availability.
For consumers, all that remains is to pick their favorite service, find the film or show they want (we find Where to Watch useful for this), and enjoy quality content safe in the knowledge that they’ve supported those who poured their time and creativity into making it.