Another thing I learned just yesterday is that the equivalents of Netflix have been deployed for a while now. Here is the top 10 list. They are consolidating, though, as VideoIsland is now merged with ScreenSelect, TescoDVDRental is really just a front on top of VideoIsland, and Movie Choices has disappeared behind LoveFilm. There seem to be 3 leaders: BlockBuster, ScreenSelect, and LoveFilm, either operating under their own names or as the backbone of other companies with more established brands.
My criteria on selecting a service is how many movies made by Akira Kurosawa they carry. On this base, ScreenSelect seems to be winning, with 15 titles, including one I haven’t seen (it is considered as not very good — which is proof that they go for a large spectrum of titles).
Generally, DVD Online Stores in the UK have around 25,000 titles (ScreenSelect boasts a total of 29,500). NetFlix still seems to be ahead of the game with 35,000. Well, my ‘Kurosawa test’ only returns ONE item (+ 1 documentary on the director, which I haven’t seen anywhere else), but that’s because the search feature is limited for unregistered users. A quick nominal search returned at least 4 works not carried in the UK.
It’s interesting to note that the high numbers of titles seems to make a big difference. It’s because they not only have x% more titles, they really have to dig for rare or artsy films, which is really what makes the service interesting in the first place.
I’m looking forward to see how it goes.