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.