Thursday, April 7, 2016

5 Streaming Video on Demand Offerings I'd Like to See in 2016: #5: Something Old--Anything Old--Nothing New

For the final installment in this series, I just want to throw this out there: How about a service dedicated to quality (read: uncut) presentations of vintage material--TV, films, or both? Believe it or not, there are people who like older stuff AND don't have medical bracelets. We know that advertisers hate (that's right, I said it: openly LOATHE) older people, but now digital subchannels have proven there is an audience out there just waiting to buy motor scooters.

Ah, but the beauty of SVOD is you don't need to get ads. No, you can market directly to the old geezers and have them sign over a portion of their Social Security checks each month!

OK, I'm being somewhat facetious, but the fact is vintage material is already an afterthought in this streaming video revolution. I believe there is a market for a service focusing on this niche. And by that I mean I have no idea if it would be profitable, but I don't care because I want one.

Some of us thought Warner Archive Instant might be that service a few years ago, but it inexplicably stopped updating while maintaining the same high premium price. Netflix bleeds pre-1990 content each month and seems to have little interest in replenishing it.  There are only a handful of SVOD services really offering decent  amounts of "old" content: Pub-D-Hub, which is all public domain; Shout TV, which is hardly limited to older stuff; and Hulu, which is Hulu and, to its credit, has not yet given up on adding new library programming.

It would be fantastic to see someone offer a selection of commercial-free classics at an affordable price. Even a rotating collection of titles each month would be all  right as long as the service was up front about when material would be leaving. Sure, media conglomerates are hogging a lot of the content now, but perhaps it could be licensed to streaming as a separate proposition from those diginets. It's not like Netflix is interested in any of it.

Warner may want to save its material for its own channel (Ha!), and Disney is Disney, but Fox isn't doing anything with its old movies other than running them mornings on one of its obscure cable channels. Same with Universal and Sony. CBS isn't doing anything interesting with its All Access service, and it has a whole lot more than just "Perry Mason" and "Twilight Zone."

How about something called "Retrovision," which for 5 bucks a month would offer an assortment of films each month? The vintage TV shows would last a little longer. The short license periods might make acquiring a wide variety of properties more affordable. Every month, a lot of material would leave, and I'd hate that, but a lot more would arrive. I would prefer unlimited content for longer periods of time, but I think this model is more feasible for an entity relying on other people's material (even though it might be bidding against itself).

Here's another idea: Make everything available on demand, but also add a live feed. Have some fun with it, including a Retrovision-branded Robert Osborne knockoff (I'd pay an extra buck or two a month if you could get the actual Bobby Osbo to introduce, say, episodes of "Coronet Blue")  to introduce movies and episodes from the library each day. People could choose on demand or just veg out in front of the live stream.

Depending on the price, I don't think an overwhelming amount of content would be necessary to make this a worthwhile experience if the presentation is done right. Someone make this happen!

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