Apple will be second largest vendor of on demand movies in the US this year

The FT reports today on a Screen Digest projection that Apple is storming forward fast in the video on demand market:

Apple is on course to become the second-largest provider of paid on-demand movies in the US by the end of 2010, leapfrogging Time Warner Cable and setting itself up as viable competitor to the cable TV industry.

These movies are of course bought via iTunes and then either watched on a laptop or on a living room television, maybe via an Apple TV box, or maybe via another link between PC and TV.  This is known as over the top video where the subscriber gets their content via their broadband connection and doesn’t need to have a subscription to a cable or satellite service.

I think this is the way of the future.  Right now there is too much content that is only legally available via satellite or cable packages, but as shown by the Screen Digest projection that situation is changing fast.  Anecdotally you can see it too – I have just come back from a week in San Francisco/The Bay Area and two UK friends who have relatively recently moved to the US haven’t taken out cable, relying instead on a Netflix subscription and what they can get over the web.

If I’m right then some very large industries will undergo some very rapid change in the not too distant future.  Cable and satellite companies like Sky and Comcast will need to re-invent themselves and the TV advertising business will shift to the web bringing profound changes in ad formats, targeting, interactivity and measurability.

Apple are all over this opportunity too, with rumours swirling that Apple TV is in for a major relaunch.

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