In a bold attempt to compete with Netflix, Deadline reports that Time Warner may use its newly purchased Flixter brand to start a cloud-based movie service. Chief among its assets will be the ability to let customers to upload their DVD collections to the cloud.
Consumers will be able to “upload your existing physical DVDs, have the ability to access them across multiple devices anywhere you want, have the ability to manage your collections with social aspects as well, go in, have friends see what movie collections they have, (and) see who has been watching those films,” said Time Warner CFO John Martin. He later called it a “very big idea” that will be unveiled in more detail soon.
Warner Bros. is doing very well. At that same investor conference, Martin said the company expects 2011 to be an “all-time record year.” It’s film business is churning along, but the main growth is coming from television, which is seeing high returns and accounting for about half of the company’s profits for the year. TV networks have picked up 27 series from Warner Bros. this fall, which includes 12 new ones, making the company, yet again, the top supplier of television programs.
While we like the idea of being able to upload our DVDs, actually doing it could be one of the most painful and time consuming tasks imaginable. Every DVD contains several gigabytes of movie and special features on it. It could take months to upload a substantial film collection. We imagine that Time Warner will let you simply prove that you own a DVD to unlock its content, but they’ll have to make some substantial deals with the other movie houses to do this. Some may remember MP3.com. About 11 years ago, the site let users prove they had CDs, which would unlock the MP3 versions for them. The RIAA sued the site and won–a ruling that may still be holding the industry back, as many new cloud-based music services like Amazon and Google Music force users to tediously upload physical copies of their music files.
What do you think about Flixter becoming a competitor to the likes of Xfinity onDemand, Netflix, Vudu, and Hulu?