About 17% of U.S. pay-TV subscribers paid to watch a video-on-demand movie in the past 12 months, compared with just 5% of users who rented a VOD title through an Internet-connected TV, game console or other device, according to research firm NPD Group.
Consumers give Internet VOD services high marks for selection, search and navigation -- but they haven't caught on, according to NPD senior vice president of industry analysis Russ Crupnick.
"The industry is teeing up excellent services for Internet movie rental, but they simply aren't getting noticed by many consumers," Crupnick said. "It's understandable that smartphone owners might be hesitant to watch a full-length movie with limited screens and battery life, but few of the other connected devices are showing strong uptake for [Internet VOD rentals], either."
NPD's "Movie VOD Monitor" report defines Internet VOD movie rentals as movies that are rented from the following services: Apple iTunes, Microsoft Zune, Sony PlayStation Network, Amazon Instant Video, Wal-Mart's Vudu, Best Buy CinemaNow and Bockbuster.com. Movie purchases or downloads that are permanently owned were not included in the report.
Even among owners of dedicated streaming-media devices, only 14% said they made a VOD rental in the past year.
Crupnick cited competition from cable, satellite and telco VOD offerings as well as subscription movie services such as Netflix as inhibiting movie rentals through over-the-top devices. About 56% of Internet VOD movie renters are also Netflix subscribers and 43% use their pay-TV provider's movie VOD service.
The NPD VOD report is based on 11,024 VOD transactions and 9,636 completed consumer surveys. All data is weighted and projected to reflect the U.S. population age 13 and older.