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Watch out Netflix-here comes VONGO

Bleary eyed, I turned on the tv in my Las Vegas hotel room at about 4:30 a.m.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor

Bleary eyed, I turned on the tv in my Las Vegas hotel room at about 4:30 a.m. this morning.

Watched the CES Channel, and learned all about VONGO, the new video download application and service for broadband from Starz Entertainment Group that delivers movies and other digital content to PCs and mobile devices.

Sony CONNECT will be making VONGO a centerpiece of its CONNECT video service, which will debut later this year.

Costs $9.99 a month, plus popular pay-per-view titles will be offered for $3.99.

So what do I make of VONGO? Five things:

  • If VONGO can - as the movie industry is talking about - get access to films at the same time they come out on DVD, then other, slower distribution models such as Netflix better watch out. Netflix is a transition distribution model whose days may, indeed be numbered.
  • I see little risk of cannibalization of Starz' existing pay per view service. This simply extends it. In fact, Starz' feed will be available as a streaming media option for VONGO subscribers.
  • Obviously, services such as VONGO are a boon to broadband service providers. Movie lovers who for whatever reason have not upgraded to high-speed broadband will feel the urge to do so. Downloading and watching video on dial-up is so 1998.
  • Inventory is king. If we are talking about thousands of films and tv shows, they who have the most current and numerous selection of quality inventory wins.
  • VONGO also has to be a big plus for the potential of hardware and related software platforms that allow for wireless network-enabled transfer of digital content from device to device within the home. That sector - and all the tech challenges and digital rights issues that are involved, will be one of the sexy tech stories in 2006.

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