Today several online film-related companies have made interesting news, including statements from Netflix and a purchasing deal for Rotten Tomatoes and Flixster. Neither represents a monumental shift at present, but they both show how big the online movie ecosystem has grown as the ways we discover, investigate, and consume films have changed and become online-dependent.

First up is a TechCrunch article about Netflix CEO Reed Hasting. The piece runs down a few notable statements from the executive of a service that is among the largest single users of internet bandwidth on the planet…

• Instant Watch is driving the companies profits and have helped Netflix reach “$3 billion in annualized revenue and a $12 billion market cap.”

• Streaming is officially bigger than DVD for the company, with the previous quarter finally seeing “hours watched” on Instant Watch grow larger than on discs.

• Netflix was conceived with the streaming model in mind, and the DVD service was always considered a means to an end – total online streaming at high quality and from multiple sources. The disc market has allowed them to become a powerful company with deep enough pockets to cause the kind of market shift towards streaming that they always saw happening. It got their foot in the door and got the checkbook big enough that they could start licensing.

Reed goes on to note that the service expects to quality to improve on a very steep upwards curve, as Moore’s Law continues to play out as it has for the last decade. The company’s original bandwidth predictions have held true, and if they continue to do so, we should see Netflix exploiting at least a gigabit’s worth of data to home customers by 2021. Maybe we could finally see HD Streaming actually become comparable to Blu-ray in terms of bitrate and losslessness. Remember: a stream may have the 2,073,600 pixels required to fill up your HDTV, but that doesn’t mean most of those aren’t garbage pixels torn apart and sloppily rebuilt by a shitty codec to save space… That’s the reason Blu-ray is still so valuable, until our pipes get fat enough to shove those meaty gigabyte files around.

WB Buys Flixster

When I think of Flixster, I still think of the old crappy-looking but popular iPhone app that let you buy tickets to movies and read review. I’ve noticed a number of updates in the years since, and by all accounts its a much more useful app that integrates well with Rotten Tomatoes and Netflix. Warner Brothers has a greater vision for it though, as a way for users to centralize their online media experience and have thus purchased Flixster for an undisclosed sum. That also means they own Rotten Tomatoes, though that is unlikely to ultimately mean anything in how that site operates. Flixster, and by extension Rotten Tomatoes, will still be their own thing…

“Under the terms of the deal, Flixster will continue to operate independently and will expand its services beyond movie discovery to enable digital content ownership and delivery across connected digital devices.”

Exactly how this will manifest as a useable service is still vague, revolving around a “Digital Everywhere” service that hopes to empower user to combine all of their digital media in one place, accessible from everywhere. With Apple and Google both clearly edging towards their own centralized, streaming cloud services, it seems the next battle for digital media delivery, and thus domination, is about to explode once one of these companies fires first. WB is clearly staking out their path into fully embracing digital movie consumption, and obviously hopes to fight with Google and Apple in the forthcoming battle of titans. If you can beat ’em, buy everything around them and suck the life from below them! It’s downright Plainviewian of them. [From THR]

This is a complicated, increasingly important topic- let me hear your fucking thoughts!

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