07/07/2011 07:23 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
The worldwide demand for online video is enormous and ever-increasing. The digital measurement company comScore recently reported that 176 million U.S. Internet users watched online videos on their computers in May, engaging in a total of 5.7 billion viewing sessions. Unfortunately, much of the viewing of movie and television content is occurring on illegitimate websites, but today, there are more options than ever before to get movies and TV shows online safely and legitimately – the list just keeps getting longer – and many of them are now among the most popular online viewing destinations.
These services offer every type of viewing, whether ad-supported, rentals, download-to-own purchasing or subscription viewing – and they are offered by many different providers, including technology companies like Apple and Roxio; television networks like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, and The CW and cable networks like Bravo, Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, and FX; pay television channels like Epix and HBO; television providers like Dish; telecommunications companies like AT&T and Comcast; retailers and rentailers like Amazon, Blockbuster, Netflix, and Sears; video gaming companies like Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox; and new ventures devoted entirely to this space like Crackle, Fandor, Hulu, mSpot, and Vudu (which is now owned by Wal-Mart). Internet company YouTube, the top viewing site based on comScore’s measurement, recently announced that it has reached agreement with studios to add more movies to its streaming movie rental service.
Providers are racing to embed their online services – in some cases with High Definition video – into the majority of Internet-enabled electronics, including high definition televisions, Blu-ray players, set-top-boxes, and gaming consoles, which means they are available not only to those watching on their computers, but people watching on their home television screens. And studios are working to ensure that downloading is a simple, uniform experience, where digital video purchased at any outlet can be played anywhere, as they work with technology companies and online providers to develop services such as UltraViolet and Disney Studio All Access.
This all goes to show that when technology, innovation, and a little movie magic come together, the world gets more entertaining for all of us. If you enjoy watching videos online, there’s no time like the present.