Friction And The Sale of Digital Media
There has been a dearth of acceptable television programming on of late, and so to fill in the gaps the other night, Mr. Right-Click and I decided to order a movie from our DirecTV DVR. We actually have several “instant” movie watching options at our home at present, including Netflix instant queue, Blockbuster instant, and Amazon on demand video. The supposed ability of the DirecTV DVR to offer on-demand videos is a relatively recent innovation, and we’re about as committed to it as we are to any other form of instant media. None of these brands has won our loyalty at present, and so our business is really up for grabs.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that all of these services suck for one reason or another, and usually there is a combination of factors contributing to the suckage. Rather than bore you with the details of why each service sucks, I’ve provided a helpful visual aid above that details the annoying factor of each service we currently have access to at the Right-Click household. You would think, with so many choices, that we would easily locate a movie worth watching in less time than it took us to realize that it’s crazy to pay so much money for a movie we don’t even get to keep permanently. Because that is the point of these services, right? You order them so quickly that you don’t have time to think about what the profit margin must be on them.
Only, for some reason, this is not how it works. How this works is that there is so many layers of goddamn friction involved in ordering a movie on demand that you end up just throwing up your arms in despair and saying, as Mr. Right-Click said the other night, “An additional $1.99 “service fee”?! Because I had to call them to inform them of faulty service? I WOULD RATHER SIT HERE IN THE DARK THAN PAY ANOTHER $1.99 TO SEE GODDAMN FOUR CHRISTMASES.”
There was an article on Snarkmarket a while back about how the reason that iTunes is so successful is that they have made it a priority to eliminate as much friction as possible in the sale of a song or an album. They have made it so easy, that it feels almost like free when you buy it. And so therefore you’re less likely to bitch about the price of the song or the fact that most songs are exactly the same price, even if nobody ever buys them. This is the same thing that Amazon has mastered with their ordering process: once you’ve set up your account, it takes like two clicks to buy stuff there, and it’s almost like you’re not buying it at all. You might see that it’s more expensive to buy your hair gel on Amazon than if you go to the store, but this way, you don’t have to go to the store, and it takes less than two seconds out of your day. That’s money well spent.
Video on demand at home should be the simplest fucking thing in the world. Plug it in, pick a movie, pay your exorbitant fee for a movie because it’s quick, it doesn’t require me to go to the video store, and you always have what I want in stock. When are you fools going to figure this out?