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Web 3.0 & Online Movies (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Sep 7th 2007

Web 3.0 Formula Discussion

Context
Different users have different tastes and they visit the same movie site with very different intention. While one may like to watch an action flick the other might like to review a classic love story to watch with his or her date. These sites have something for every kind of user, from trailers of the latest flick to movie downloads to reviews to news on the upcoming movies and actors to fan blogs to finding a local DVD store.

I particularly liked Jaman, which allows film lovers to see movies from different countries and interact with like minded users. The site has a multi-cultural look and feel to it, and perhaps has promise as a broad-based foreign films destination. It, however, has limited prospects if it only focuses on being a DVD rental site, instead of a true web 3.0 business.

Content
The content in most online movie portals is fairly impressive. The users can browse movies, view trailers, movie clips, read reviews, celebrity interviews, news and latest updates films, rent or buy DVDs or download movies or watch them through streaming video. Netflix has more than 80,000 DVD titles in its database, including new TV releases. It, however, has a relatively low user generated content level.

Blockbuster store locator provides localized listing of DVD stores, while IMDb, in alliance with Fandango, furnishes localized show timings for movies within a given geographical location.

Yahoo Mobile integrated with Yahoo Movies provides regular updates on new releases and scoop on celebrities on mobile phones.

The users can also browse through photos of their favorite celebrities and read their biographies.

Community
The community features in online movie portals allow users to post reviews or synopsis of movies. Netflix has more than 6 million subscribers, but low community engagement.

I liked the community section in IMDb, where multiple users have reviewed a single movie and the quality of review was impressive. This instills an element of diversity to the reviews and aids other others get a polyphonic view of the same movie through different eyes. The users can also rate, comment or vote on these reviews.

These apart, there are blogs dedicated to a movies or stars where users can express their views.

Jaman, a niche site for foreign films, has rich social networking features that allow film lovers across the globe to interchange views with like-minded film buffs.

I would like to see live discussions in which movie lovers can interact with film personalities, interactive sessions between film-makers, critics and regular viewers. It would also make film-marketing more powerful.

Commerce
Commerce on online sports sites is mainly through subscriptions and merchandising of movie DVDs. Blockbuster added 700,000 online rental subscribers to its Blockbuster Total Access program during the fourth quarter, 2006 including 500,000 paying subscribers. Sites like Yahoo Movies or IMDb also retail movie tickets.

Gift subscriptions offered by Netflix are priced at $8.99 per month to $107.88 for yearly subscription.

Movie sites could also consider retailing T-shirts, posters, merchandise and photos of film personalities, in partnership with photo sites like Snapfish or Kodak or publishing houses. It would require royalty arrangements with the stars, ofcourse, but imagine how many takers there would be for legally produced, photo-shopped images/merchandise of fans with their heroes!

Vertical Search
The users can search for movie DVDs, rentals or check show timings for movies by movie title, genre, actors, directors, MPAA rating, characters, quotes, bios, plots, keywords, etc. This is, by far, the best movie related search engine around.

Personalization
Personalization in online movie sites allows users to create their personalized movie profile, list their favorite movies and DVDs and also new releases based on their personalized settings and see all of their reviews archived in one place.

The Personalized Recommendation feature in Netflix and Yahoo movies allows users to rate movies, get personalized recommendations for other movies and helps users filter out movies or movie categories based on individual preferences. I have discovered many films over the years, thanks to Netflix’s recommendation feature.

(To Be Continued)

[Part 1]
[Part 2]
[Part 3]

This segment is part 4 in the series : Web 3.0 & Online Movies
1 2 3 4 5

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