Streaming held back

Assessing the health of the online streaming market

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve looked at availability of movies and TV shows that came out in the past year. But what about movies that came two years ago? Are those more available today than they were a year ago? Let’s look at the data.

2010: Box Office Winners availability

A year ago, I went through the list of box office winners and looked at their availability online. I pulled the information again in January 2012, a full year after the initial data set. The 2012 data looked like this:

Rank Title Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD
1 Toy Story 3 Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
2 Alice in Wonderland  No Yes Yes Yes Yes
3 Iron Man 2 Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
4 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse No Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
5 Inception No No No No Yes
6 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 No No No No Yes
7 Despicable Me No No No No Yes
8 Shrek Forever After No No No No Yes
9 How to Train Your Dragon No No No No Yes
10 Tangled Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
11 The Karate Kid No No Purchase only Purchase only Yes
12 Clash of the Titans No Yes Yes No Yes
13 Grown Ups No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
14 Tron Legacy Yes Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
15 Megamind No No No No Yes
16 Little Fockers No No No No Yes
17 The Last Airbender Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
18 True Grit Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
19 Shutter Island Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
20 The Other Guys No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
21 Salt No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
22 Jackass 3D Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
23 Valentine’s Day No No Yes No Yes
24 Robin Hood No No No No Yes
25 The Expendables Yes Yes Purchase only Purchase only Yes
26 Due Date No No No No Yes
27 The Chronicle of Narnia:
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
No No No No Yes
28 Date Night No No No No Yes
29 Sex and the City 2 No No No No Yes
30 The Social Network No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
31 The Book of Eli No Yes Yes No Yes
32 The Town No No No No Yes
33 Prince of Persia:
The Sands of Time
Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
34 Red No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
35 Percy Jackson & The Olympians:
The Lightning Thief
No Yes Yes Yes Yes
36 Paranormal Activity 2 Yes Purchase only No Purchase only Yes
37 Yogi Bear No No No No Yes
38 Eat Pray Love No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
39 Unstoppable No No No No Yes
40 Dear John No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
41 The A-team No No No No Yes
42 Knight & Day No No No No Yes
43 Black Swan No No No No Yes
44 Dinner for Schmucks No No No No Yes
45 The Fighter Yes Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
46 The Bounty Hunter No Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
47 The Tourist No Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
48 Diary of a Wimpy Kid No No  No No Yes
49 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Yes Yes  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
50 A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) No No  No No Yes
51 The Last Song Yes Purchase only  Purchase only Purchase only Yes
52 The Wolfman No Yes Yes Yes Yes
53 Get him to the Greek No No No No Yes
54 Resident Evil: Afterlife No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
55 Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
56 Tooth Fairy No Yes Yes Yes Yes
57 Secretariat Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
58 Easy A No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
59 Takers No  Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
60 Legend of the Guardians:
The Owls of Ga’hoole
No No No No Yes
61 Life as We Know It No No No No Yes
62 Letters to Juliet No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
63 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps No No No No Yes
64 Predators No No No No Yes
65 Hot Tub Time Machine Yes No Yes No Yes
66 Kick-Ass Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
67 The King’s Speech No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
68 Killers Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
69 Saw 3D No Yes Yes Yes Yes
70 Cop Out No Yes Yes No Yes
71 Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore No No No No Yes
72 Edge of Darkness No No No No Yes
73 Death at a Funeral No Yes Yes Purchase only Yes
74 Step-Up 3D Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
75 The Last Exorcism Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
76 Legion No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
77 The Crazies Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
78 Gulliver’s Travels No No No No Yes
79 Burlesque No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
80 For Colored Girls Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
81 The Back-up Plan No Purchase only No No Yes
82 Vampires Suck No No No No Yes
83 The American No No No No Yes
84 Green Zone No Yes Yes Yes Yes
85 Marmaduke No No No No Yes
86 Devil No No No No Yes
87 Hereafter No No No No Yes
88 When in Rome No Yes Yes Yes Yes
89 Love and Other Drugs No No No No Yes
90 She’s Out of My League No Yes Yes Yes Yes
91 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World No No No No Yes
92 Charlie St. Cloud No No No No Yes
93 Morning Glory Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
94 Daybreakers Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
95 How Do You Know No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
96 Nanny McPhee Returns No No No No Yes
97 The Switch No Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
98 Brooklyn’s Finest Yes Purchase only Purchase only Purchase only Yes
99 Machete No No No No Yes
100 Ramona and Beezus No No No No Yes

Aggregate Rental data

When you tally it up, the rental only chart (excluding movies you can purchase) looks as follows:

Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD
Top 10 3 1 1 1 10
Top 25 9 4 4 2 25
top 50 13 7 6 3 50
Top 100 26 15 15 15 100

The data seems to show that hits from over a year ago are still difficult to get. Netflix fares best, capturing 26% of the titles but pay-per-view services like Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu turn in a paltry offering with only 15% of the 2010 box office winners being available for rent on these services.

So, having run the data for 2 years in a row, are we seeing improvements in the market?

Rankings 2010 2011 Difference
Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD
Top 10 1 7 7 7 8 3 1 1 1 10  +2  -6  -6  -6  +2
Top 25 2 14 14 15 18 9 4 4 2 25  +7  -10  -10  -13  +7
Top 50 4 26 25 26 35 13 7 6 3 50  +9  -19  -19  -23  +15
Top 100 10 50 46 47 75 26 15 15 9 100  +16  -35  -31  -38  +25

The picture here actually shows something fairly disastrous to people who hope that things are improving in terms of availability of movies along the long tail. While Netflix turns in a stronger performance, more than doubling availabilities of 2010 box office winners from 10 to 26, all other online services are seeing availability drop by 31% or more. This means that almost one third fewer 2010 box office winners are available this year as rentals as compared to last year. The strategy here seems to call in question the existence of a long tail in terms of media availability as far as rentals are concerned.

While the cost of storing a movie is a marginal one, it appears studios prefer to not make titles available as rentals online. There is some humor in the fact that whatever corner DVD rental place is still in existence near your home probably has a higher selection of available titles from 2010 than could be found last year because ALL 2010 box office winners are now available on DVD.

Aggregate Rental and Sales data

So, with a strong suspicion that sales numbers may be better, let’s see what happens if we had movies that may not be available for rent but can be purchase (ie. are more expensive to get)

Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD
Top 10 3 5 4 5 10
Top 25 9 15 15 15 25
top 50 13 27 22 26 50
Top 100 26 56 51 54 100

The first one notices here is that the number of titles legally available online is still relatively low a full year after all the titles have been released. While DVDs have come out, legal online streaming services online offer a bit over half of the 2010 box office winners, with Amazon having the most extensive catalog. The availability of legal movie streams, when compared to DVD, is still a challenge.

But have things improved since last year? To figure that out, let’s look at the availability of the same titles over the last couple of years:

Rankings 2010 2011 Difference
Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD Netflix Amazon iTunes Vudu DVD
Top 10 1 7 8 8 8 3 5 4 5 10  +2  -2  -4  -3  +2
Top 25 2 16 16 17 18 9 15 15 15 25  +7  -1  -1  -2  +7
Top 50 4 29 29 30 35 13 27 22 26 50  +9  -2  -7  -4  +15
Top 100 10 58 59 58 75 26 56 51 54 100  +16  -2  -8  -4  +25

My initial hunch was that we would have seen improvements in the sales of legal streams from one year to the next, just as we would would have seen for DVDs because of availability.

But the picture is actually surprising as the availability of legal streams for 2010 box office winners has dropped in the last 12 months. On their face, one might expect sales of legal online streams to see patterns similar to sales of DVDs, even if they would trail the plastic medium. But what’s surprising here is that it appears studios have decided to pull their movie catalogs back offline.

There is still a long way before legal online streaming matches DVD sales as it appears movie studios are still addicted to selling pieces of plastic than they are to selling movies in any form available.

About the Author

Tristan Louis

Writing and working on the internet since 1993, I've launched 6 companies, of which 2 (internet.com and Earthweb) went public and two were sold (Net Quotient and MoveableMedia). My latest, Keepskor provides tools allowing anyone to develop mobile and connected TV games without writing a line of code. This is my personal site and all opinions here are mine.

  • Mario Flores

    Hey, 

    This was interesting, but some charts/visualizations would definitely help your audience digest your content better and be more eager to share it with others.  I’d share this on twitter, but 90% of people I know aren’t going to take the time to read through your tables.

    • http://www.tnl.net Tristan Louis

      Good point. Maybe I’ll add more visuals when I run through those next year (I tend to be more of a words than graphics guy. Guess I should run those things through Excel :) )

  • Peter

    Hi! Great post. The availability of film and TV online is similar in the UK. We (Open Rights Group) did a survey a bit like this late last summer here – similar results: http://www.openrightsgroup.org/ourwork/reports/cant-look-now:-finding-film-online

    eg: 43% of the best 50 British films can be bought or rented online. Similarly, only 58% of the BAFTA Best Film award winners since 1960 have been made available. 

    Thanks,

    Pete

    • http://www.tnl.net Tristan Louis

      Wow. Awesome data. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Mike

    Great job compiling this data. I agree with your conclusion that the data clearly shows content providers pushing their latest shows/movies and pulling older stuff. As you said in your last post, the content providers seem more interested in criminalizing piracy then with providing the customers legal means of getting the content. They could have gotten behind efforts like GoogleTV and Boxee, but instead they fight. Perhaps they haven’t noticed what iTunes did for the music industry. Maybe there’s more money in the lawsuits. Such a shame for the consumer.

    • http://www.tnl.net Tristan Louis

      Indeed.

  • http://www.vodtoday.nl vodtoday

    Very nice compilation of all the data. I’ll take this in consideration in my next post about online content for video on demand :)

    • http://www.tnl.net Tristan Louis

      Great. Do share that post when it’s written :)

  • Jason

    I think it’s a little misleading that you have a “purchase only” indication, but fail to point out that although some movies are available from Amazon, they are not available as part of a Prime membership which means there is still an extra cost. Even if it’s not a purchase, it’s still a 4$ rental. Sure, it’s available, but I think most people consider the concept of “value”.  Just 2 rentals from Amazon is a month of Netflix.

    • http://www.tnl.net Tristan Louis

      Actually, where I indicated purchase only, I mean that the movie is NOT available for rental at all. In none of the Amazone cases here were movies available for rental either via primie or on pay per view.