Someone seems to finally understand that users want to know availability of movies regardless of platform and keep track across multiple devices. A new product called Watch It is now in Beta. It allows you to add movies that you’re interested in to your queue and share it. Regardless of whether it is coming to cinemas, Blu-ray and DVD, VOD or Digital Download, it will let you know when it is available in any format and provides a direct link to any one of those forms of distribution. Another key is that they are not requiring users to go to any one App to access, the feature can supposedly be placed and supported on any App.
Of course, it remains to be seen how successful it is in transactions, but the fact that it is open to any placement and any platform is something to keep an eye on – perhaps even more than transactions. With many retailers, publishers and CPG companies introducing programs and Apps that require a closed system to access their own specific content, I’m concerned those companies are headed in the wrong direction. If users want to gain access to stuff, do they want to have to keep track of the many different Apps just to access it? That’s one of the reasons iTunes has been so successful – from a digital download perspective, users know they can go to one place to access most everything and they only need to know one password to get it.
In the case of Watch It, they still have that one location specifically for movies in any form and acts as a solid aggregator of that information with the proper links. It probably won’t be as easy as one password for all, but that’s something they should be working toward. They are also primed to be able to work closely with all the studios to ensure the provision of an anchor for viewers to follow their product through all phases of distribution. Once they get enough users, this element could prove to be one of their larger revenue points.
There are other products that are available that could probably add the overlying feature, but it could take too long or be outside of what they are meant to be. So, while it could be cool, we are still far away from seeing if it amounts to anything. Worst case scenario is that we track how it does as a possible model for future open applications.