Reincarnated MovieBeam Goes Out With A Whimper

from the fail,-fail-again dept

Remember MovieBeam? The service was originally announced by Disney back in 2003 as a way of competing against things like TiVo and Netflix. It required (yet another) set top box, but a constant flow of movies would be beamed to the box while no one was looking. The device would come with 100 movies, and 10 new ones would magically show up each week. Of course, that's a really limited selection. Also, the pricing model was ridiculous. You had to pay a huge upfront fee to get the box and then still had to pay to watch each movie. If you didn't complete watching a movie you chose with 24 hours of "purchasing" it, you had to pay again. It was as if it was designed to fail... and fail it did. Less than two years after launch (only in a few test markets) Disney shut it down. What was strange was that it actually came back to life a year later. Disney spun it out of the company, and the new startup somehow convinced some VCs and Cisco to dump $50 million into the project... only to discover that there was a pretty good reason it failed the first time around: consumers don't find it valuable. So, it didn't come as much of a surprise that not many people were interested in it the second time around either. We haven't heard much from MovieBeam in about a year, but alarm:clock has the news that the company has been quietly sold off to Movie Gallery for almost nothing. As was pointed out by a few people last year, this was a case where people were so impressed with the technology "cool" factor, that they forgot to ask if anyone would actually pay to use it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 11:46am

    Never heard of it...

    This project sounded like the bastard love cihild of video on demand and pay per view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    James, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 12:44pm

    HAHAHAHA!!

    I love it when a company w/a rediculous business model fails, to borrow a line from someone else, "Perhaps the purpose of your life, is to serve as a warning to others" ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Mike Bentley, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 12:45pm

    as it was described to me

    The first release of the service was a test in three markets. It was backed up by advertising, and I'm told was well received. The second release of the service was for real, in the 31 largest markets, but for reasons I don't understand they weren't able to advertise, so consequently nobody knew about it. The set top boxes were recently for sale in places like Radio Shack and Best Buy, but nothing about the displays drew customer attention. The business model behind the second, full release of the service was much different than the first. There are bona fide reasons that such a service could thrive in the current market. I expect the company to achieve greater success with more intelligent backing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    John Ahrends, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 7:47pm

    Still up

    The service is still being sold. I was tempted to get the service since you can get deals where the box was like $49.95. Once you have the box it isnt expensive to watch a movie you already have instead of either driving to blockbuster to get a movie or waiting on netflix. I personally don't like pay per view anything though which is why I didnt get the thing. The interesting thing behind this is there are no service fees just pay per view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    John Ahrends, Mar 8th, 2007 @ 7:47pm

    Still up

    The service is still being sold. I was tempted to get the service since you can get deals where the box was like $49.95. Once you have the box it isnt expensive to watch a movie you already have instead of either driving to blockbuster to get a movie or waiting on netflix. I personally don't like pay per view anything though which is why I didnt get the thing. The interesting thing behind this is there are no service fees just pay per view.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This