Movie Downloading and Streaming Triples in 2009

According to findings from Ipsos OTX MediaCT’s LMX MOTION study, streaming, downloading and kiosk rentals are joining pay-per-view as the fastest and cheapest ways to watch movies

Monday, May 17, 2010

New York, NY – It is no secret that watching long forms of professionally produced online digital video has become commonplace in the U.S. The ease and convenience of watching online video are rapidly contributing to a society where all forms of video are expected to be just clicks away. Even full-length movies, which previously required dedicated time and effort to find a specific movie, are joining the ease-and-convenience bandwagon. No longer is it necessary to go out and purchase a movie or rent one from a store; now consumers have a myriad of choices that are often faster and less expensive than their traditional counterparts.

This trend toward instant gratification for movie content is very evident when looking at the streaming and downloading of full-length movies over the last year. According to recent data from Ipsos OTX MediaCT’s LMX MOTION study, the number of U.S. online consumers that streamed or downloaded a full-length movie within the past 30 days roughly tripled from late 2008 to late 2009, reaching 20% for streaming and 13% for downloading.

“As connection speeds rapidly increase and as movie offerings from digital video websites expand, we are witnessing a sharp increase in the streaming and downloading of full-length feature films,” explains Brian Pickens, Senior Research Manager at Ipsos OTX MediaCT. “As a result, video on the Internet is no longer the domain of short, amateur clips, but has become a viable alternative for all forms of video, regardless of length.”

Further data underscore the desire for easy, convenient access to full length feature films in the home. The LMX MOTION study included a trade-off exercise to understand the preferences consumers have for acquiring and watching both new and older movie releases, under the assumption that all were equally available to them today. Based on this analysis, Ipsos learned that the biggest impact in the decision is how the movie is actually distributed and acquired. Eight potential ways to acquire a movie were tested and the LMX MOTION study was able to calculate the relative desirability of each distribution model. Pay-per-view and video on-demand through a cable or satellite provider were found to be the most desired method to gain access to new releases. However, store/kiosk rentals followed closely behind, and renting through single movie streaming or downloading are digital options poised for growth as consumers have more awareness of and access to them.

Recent talk has focused on the mail-subscription model, but there are other emerging options which better connect to the heart of consumers’ preference for convenience. The subscription models (both mail and online) are convenient but consumers may feel locked into that choice given the fee structure. (It is important to note that the mail and online monthly subscription models were analyzed as separate, stand-alone offers for this study.) These findings also support the heavy investment cable and satellite companies are making in their video on-demand services. The data clearly reveal that the spreading availability of feature films on the Internet (and through the set-top box) resonates with many consumers.

Based on the higher desirability placed on streaming and downloading over purchasing a physical disc and the mail subscription model, it is clear that growth in the digital distribution realm will continue. Interesting to note however is that purchasing physical DVD’s have close to average desirability, indicating there still may be hurdles (such as digital storage space) that need to be addressed before ownership of downloaded movies takes off further. Furthermore, the rental from a kiosk method illustrates that a physical rental model is emerging in an enhanced way. While kiosk rentals are not vastly different than store rentals, the speed, convenience and lower price has struck a chord with many consumers.

Overall, both the current behaviors and desired needs regarding movie acquisition emphasize the impact of convenience and price. Brian Pickens concludes, “Given the relative value consumers place on different movie distribution options, it is imperative that studios ensure that their movies are available not only through traditional outlets, but also through emerging channels such as kiosks and online video websites, and the further expanding video on-demand options. While this could slowly result in a shift away from more traditional models, the emerging methods of movie distribution appear to be here to stay.”

Data were sourced from the October 2009 wave of Ipsos OTX MediaCT’s LMX MOTION study, which was conducted via online interviews among a representative online population aged 12 years and older. To learn more about LMX MOTION, a biannual syndicated study tracking the U.S. online video market, please visit:

For more information on this news release and Ipsos travel research, please contact:

Brian Pickens
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos OTX MediaCT
(612) 573-8520

About Ipsos OTX MediaCT

Ipsos OTX MediaCT is the market research specialization within Ipsos built to reach, engage and more effectively understand today’s digitally-driven consumer in the fast moving media, content and technology space. By integrating new technologies and immersive techniques with extensive traditional research experience, Ipsos OTX MediaCT’s market leading research solutions help clients better understand media and technology consumption, evaluate content, monitor the value of brands and provide guidance for successful innovation. The Ipsos OTX MediaCT approach results in deeper and more profound consumer insights that allow companies to maximize their return on investment.

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Movie Downloading and Streaming Triples in 2009

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Brian Pickens
Senior Research Manager
Ipsos MediaCT