updated 08:45 pm EST, Mon February 7, 2011
iTunes more popular than cable VOD, others
IHS Screen Digest, a company that provides market analysis on both internet Video on Demand (iVOD) and electronic sell-through (EST) of movies, ranked the iTunes online store the top seller of electronically-delivered movies in the US again in 2010, though new pushes from rivals such as Amazon and Wal-Mart have eaten slightly into Apple's share (Netflix is not counted in the survey since they do not also offer online selling of movies, only streaming rental). All the main movie competitors combined -- Sony's PlayStation Store, Amazon's VOD, Wal-Mart's Vudu service and Microsoft's Zune Video -- took roughly one-third of the estimated $385M market compared to Apple's two-thirds.
While movie sales and even streaming rental was a nascent business in 2010, the company expects revenues to increase dramatically in 2011, rising more than 60 percent. Streaming iVOD sales such as rental TV and movies is expected to go from generating $153M in 2010 to over $220M in the current year.
While Apple had even more dominance in iVOD and EST in 2009 -- roughly 75 percent of the market -- it was able to hold off competitors thanks to the introduction of the iPad and the revamped Apple TV, which stimulated demand. Services such as Netflix, which the company views as "complementary" to other movie-selling or renting services like iTunes (i.e., people who have Netflix are also likely to use one or more of the other services), will also experience tremendous online growth in 2011, thanks in part to the service's availability on many different devices, from Apple TV to Nintendo's Wii.
Microsoft, thanks largely to its Kinect 3D motion controller that reinvigorated interest in the XBox platform, grabbed the number two position of EST/iVOD sellers with 17.9 percent US spending, up from 11.6 percent a year ago. IHS Screen Digest believes that continued aggressive pricing and increasing availability of Wal-Mart's Vudu service -- despite being a minor player so far -- will increase their presence as a competitor over the next year. Studios have a reason to favor Wal-Mart for online delivery, given that the company generates some $3.5 billion for them in physical DVD sales.