Physical format purists will have to mourn the loss of yet another DVD rental service. As consumers increasingly look towards digital streaming services, Amazon has put the final death knell into its LoveFilm subscription service.
Originally launched in the UK as DVDsOnTap, LoveFilm has grown at an exponential rate, offering everything from DVD and Blu-rays to the latest and greatest games. It was eventually acquired by online retailing giant Amazon in January 2011, with the company utilising its online expertise to push LoveFilm into the digital streaming era.
While LoveFilm has been a mainstay in the UK ever since then, Amazon finally turned off the streaming service portion of LoveFilm back in 2014. That was due to the UK launch of Amazon Instant Video, which offered streaming TV shows and films to Amazon Prime customers. LoveFilm lived on as a DVD and game rental service, however.
Unfortunately, on October 31 LoveFilm will cease to exist. Given the sharp drop in the number of people subscribing to the service, and the rise of internet streaming through Amazon’s own Instant Video service and Netflix, Amazon had no other choice but to shutter the business. Thankfully, to help ease the pain the online retailer is giving LoveFilm members a £15 discount on the £40 Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Physical media has been increasingly under attack by streaming services, and it seems that this is just the latest signal that the industry is adapting to the digital era. While Ultra HD Blu-ray players are now available, users seem more interested in paying for a Netflix subscription than they are in acquiring one of the new players.
Even in the installation industry, digital is becoming king. Popular media server offerings from the likes of Kaleidescape and Plex have become increasingly important in home cinema installations, as users prefer their libraries digitised. Kaleidescape even offer an online movie store, jam-packed with 4K films and content for its users to enjoy.
The closure of LoveFilm may not be massively important to the installation market as a whole, but the consequences could affect the way all users consume media. Digital media sales and subscriptions finally overtook physical media sales in the UK in 2016, and surged 23% in the process. Meanwhile, DVD and Blu-ray sales fell by 17%, meaning installers working on high-end home cinemas need to bear that in mind; ensuring that they opt to install media servers rather than Blu-ray players.