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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Discs by mail

My monthly Boston Globe column, which runs today, focuses on services other than Netflix that send discs in the mail, and how they're planning for the inevitable transition to digital downloading. A snippet:

    Executives at each of the services feel they can build nice-sized businesses in the shadow of Netflix, and many are already profitable. ``There are 100 million households that can play DVDs," says GameFly co-founder Sean Spector, ``and Netflix has about 5 million subscribers, so they have a lot of runway in front of them. There are about 60 million households with gaming consoles, so I think we have a lot of runway, too."

    But there's also looming uncertainty: How much longer will physical media like CDs and DVDs last before they are replaced by digital downloads?

Of course, the most interesting detail, to me, is that many of these services (like Simply Audiobooks and GreenCine) have already begun offering digital downloads -- while Netflix has not.


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