What Are on Demand Movies?

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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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On demand movies are movies that can be accessed and watched instantly without requiring one to first get a physical copy. Sometimes such movies are available through cable, satellite, or other forms of television service. They can also be viewed on the Internet through a variety of different services. The pricing and availability of on demand movies tends to vary based on the mode of distribution. Some programs, for instance, charge a different rate for each movie while others are subscription-based and allow an individual to watch a limited or unlimited number of movies for a set price.

The popularity of on demand movies is based mostly on convenience. Instead of needing to drive to the movie rental store to rent a physical copy of the movie, one can simply navigate a menu on a television or computer and watch the desired movie instantly. Additionally, there is no need to worry about returning the movie, as it automatically ceases to be available when the rental period or subscription expires. The renter also does not need to worry about damaging or losing a physical copy, so there is almost no risk of incurring any fees on top of the initial rental or subscription fee.


There are some disadvantages to on demand movies. For instance, most on demand movies do not include the special features, such as director commentaries and deleted scenes, that come with physical copies of movies. Furthermore, the quality of on demand movies is often lacking in comparison to their physical counterparts, as higher quality requires a greater rate of data transfer that may not be available to everyone; people with slow Internet connections often need to wait for online movies to load as well, so renting physical copies may be a better option.

There are two main billing and rental models for on demand movies. One form, most commonly offered by television service providers, is similar to traditional physical movie rentals in that one pays for each movie. In the other form, one pays a monthly subscription fee to watch as many movies as one wants. While the pay-per-movie model generally allows for wider access to new releases, subscription services tend to be more popular because they allow one to watch more movies for less money.

One possible positive side effect of the increasing popularity of on demand movies is a decrease in movie piracy. The inexpensive, convenient, and widespread availability of almost all popular movies and many obscure ones removes much of the motivation to illegally download the same movies. The end consumer gets to watch inexpensive movies and both the rental company and the movie company profits.


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