Stories about Zediva have been kicking around the internet for the past few days. It’s an interesting story and an even more interesting concept. The company’s founder explained that concept to Rotten Tomatoes as this:
“We don’t rent digital copies of a movie,” he said. “Our users rent a physical DVD, along with a DVD player, from us for a fixed amount of time. They then control that DVD player remotely over the internet — and stream the movie privately to themselves. Think of it as a really long cable and a really long remote control.”
That “actual DVD” loophole allows Zediva to bypass the streaming contracts that are the bane of such companies as Netflix. This means they can show more recent releases than other services. They also charge less for new releases than their competitors – $1.99 for a 14 day rental as opposed to $3.99 from places like Amazon. They even offer a deal of 10 movies for $10.
They go so far with the physical DVD model that you may find some movies to be rented out and you’ll have to wait for the next available copy. With that sort of limitation it may be enough for the model to succeed. We’ll have to wait and see what the studios and the MPAA have to say.