First off, download technologies / streaming technologies are a little off the mark (at present) when it comes to understanding consumer patterns in video and in Internet usage generally. It goes against the grain to have expiration dates set on video downloads (sky’s seven day limit for example) or indeed to have them delivered in any format other than moveable, transferable, ‘copiable’ MP4’s or some such format. As networks get faster, as downloads speeds increase, and as hard drives increase in capacity, it will become easier to share content. We are not far from the Terabyte standard issue home computer; PVR’s and HD Recorders are beginning to proliferate. The capability for storage, high quality reproduction and fast transfer is just about upon us. Just as MP3’s needed broadband access speeds to facilitate mass ‘piracy’, so too the networking, storage and playback technologies as they progress will facilitate similar levels of access to ‘video’. At a very simple level, the flow of audio visual packets to a monitor or display device can be intercepted at several points along the lines of current technologies. My TV aerial goes into my VCR, as does my Sky Box, the VCR goes into the HD Recorder, and that goes into the TV. This ecosystem cannot be radically disturbed by the introduction of online video on demand (the hardware manufacturers would go crazy!) and therefore the potential for copying is exacerbated. The technologies deployed to avoid this are like pushing rope – it won’t work. The history of the record industry is exactly the same, and will be followed by the movie industry.
Second, it is not necessary to provide video on demand exactly ‘on demand’, with all the network load issues that that represents. The night that