Amazon’s IMDb wants in on the streaming-video business in a big way: founder Col Needham said the company, which dominates the movie-database business, wants to be able to give users one-click access to the 1.3 million titles in its index. Of course, that’s a mammoth task — Needham said it was a goal for 2009 “and beyond,” per CNET. Given the tangle of licensing agreements IMDb would have to negotiate with multiple studios and organizations like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the “beyond” could mean a few years. There’s also the problem of older films that might not be available digitally, or even at all. But, with IMDb’s roots in the movie business, they shouldn’t be written off.
IMDb started offering free video clips last September; since then, Needham said the database has grown to include 14,000 full-length TV episodes, a “couple thousand” full-length movies and 120,000 other short-form clips like movie trailers and interviews. The deep library is complemented by IMDb’s traffic: Needham said it gets 57 million unique monthly visitors (likely globally). *ComScore* pegs its U.S. traffic at a lower 22 million, but that still dwarfs the two runners up: *Yahoo* Movies and MSN Movies, with 15.4 million and 13.4 million monthly uniques, respectively.
As for competition, there’s a full roster: indie service provider MovieFlix offers about 4,000 films on a per-view or subscription basis; coming down the pike is the Paramount, *Viacom*, MGM and Lionsgate JV service epix, as well as Blockbuster’s to-be-announced service that runs on CinemaNow technology. Meanwhile, gamers can already get about 30,000 movies and TV shows through Xbox Live, and almost 5,000 through the PlayStation Network.
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