The company plans to close its experimental video-on-demand service this week in all three of its test cities. Disney spokeswoman Michelle Bergman said the shutdown was necessary to upgrade systems as the company seeks potential partners to explore MovieBeam's "next phase."
It is uncertain, however, when — or even if — the service will be relaunched.
I can't say I'm surprised to hear the news, the fees seemed way too high from the outset. It was $7 a month for the box, and $2.50-$4 for each movie you watched. You only got to view them in a 24 hour window before they deleted themselves and your selections were limited to a 100 or so movies. In the age of $3 DVD rentals at any corner store and Netflix to your door for $12-$20 a month, I don't think MovieBeam had a chance.
It was cool to see a company try wireless delivery of media, but they priced it higher than DVD, and it was compressed movie quality below that of a DVD. In the end, it's all about saving a few bucks for customers, and MovieBeam didn't offer that. It's surprising really, to think it was launched directly from a studio, no middle man at all, and didn't require anything beyond a settop box antenna to receive shows, but they priced it above simple DVD rentals.
Oh well, lots of lessons to learn here for others looking at the space. [thanks Mike]