« We are entering a hybrid world of physical and digital products » 02.12.09
Mr. Calver formed LOVEFiLM International in 2006 by merging with Video Island, where he was CEO, to create one of Europe’s largest online entertainment services. In 2008 LOVEFiLM acquired the online DVD rental business from Amazon. Mr. Calver is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008, and a London South East winner in 2009.
Where does LOVEFiLM currently stand in terms of service usage and customer numbers for its online viewing platform?
SC: We are extremely pleased with the launch of our new on-demand service “Watch Now”. We are excited about customer take up, growth rate as well as the already market-leading content range and release schedule we have. The feedback has been hugely positive and our customers find the service easy to use. The service clearly complements the original LOVEFiLM DVD rental offering in the eyes of our customers, giving added value and convenience.
Where do you see the online viewing platform fitting in to overall strategy? Do you think there will come a day soon when the movie rental market is dominated by the Internet?
We have built the service to be easy to use from the film information page, right at the heart of our site. In addition we have made the streamed service part of the subscription package for many members, so they are getting great films on-demand for their normal monthly fee. Together these factors are creating great interest in digital content from our customer base. Strategically our role is to help people find the films they want to watch: how they watch them (either on DVD, in the cinema or on-demand) is really up to their own preference.
We think that on-demand viewing will slowly increase but the DVD is here for a long time yet. We are entering a hybrid world of both physical and digital products and LOVEFiLM is strategically placed to offer both of these services direct to consumers homes. Change will be gradual and we will help our customers make this transition over the next five to ten years.
What plans do you have for expanding LOVEFiLM online viewing platform?
We have a great service to the PC at the moment but shortly in the future we will be providing the same service direct to the TV set in the living room. We are not in a position to announce anything at the moment but stay tuned.
How much of this hinges upon the speedy upgrading of the UK’s broadband infrastructure?
For both successful streaming and quick downloading the broadband infrastructure needs to be robust, open and fast. The growth in these ways to view films will go hand in hand with these infrastructure changes. In the meantime we as a business will continue to offer hybrid packages to give customers the best of both worlds.
What other challenges do you anticipate within the next 12 months?
As a business what we want is open platforms, no exclusive deals restricting competition and content availability for all. In this environment we believe our brand can thrive and continue to grow at rapid rates. We will be working with all partners to ensure that we can offer the best possible service and availability in the market. source