Amazon to throw its weight at video downloads

Amazon disclosed this weekend that they would be entering the video download space in mid August. AdAge reported on Saturday that Amazon Digital Video will be a subscription service operating through a desktop client. The company has already cried uncle on music downloads and will focus instead on video, a milieu it believes is still free of domination by a single vendor. ABC/Disney appears to be outside the new project, partnering instead with iTunes. The Amazon service will apparently offer both TV episodes and movies, both download to own and rentals may be included.

Amazon already has a variety of film related properties online, it owns the Internet Movie Database and offers a Netflix style DVD rental service in the UK and Germany, for example.

If anyone can pull off a DRM laden, desktop client driven video download service on a massive scale it’s probably Amazon. The brand’s mindshare in all things e-commerce is massive.

I do wonder though, whether getting video online is a practice that will remain most common among the young and hip for some time. That demographic may be more interested in exploring use of non-traditional vendors than older customers might. They are also probably more willing to just grab videos from illicit P2P networks. All of these vendors, including Amazon, are going to have to come up with something awfully compelling (carrot or stick) to get the kind of business in this medium that they seek.

It will be interesting to watch the Amazon launch next month and see if they can bring anything other than largess to the game.