Thursday, April 17, 2008
OFT Clears LoveFilm Amazon merger
Yesterday the OFT gave the go-ahead for LoveFilm and Amazon to merge their DVD rental operations. Whilst most people expected this, it was by no means a 'slam dunk'.
The OFT said that while it had competition concerns about the merger, which will control 90% of the online DVD market, it concluded that LoveFilm had no incentive to worsen its customer proposition because of the competition it faced from an array of other providers of video content.
LoveFilm in the UK and Netflix in the US have once again demonstrated the power of the web to disrupt well established and entrenched business models - in this case the Video Rental stores.
Lovefilm's CEO Simon Calver says the high street film rentals market has "completely imploded" with 50 per cent fewer stores trading today than two years ago as consumers continue to flock online to hire their movies.
Speaking at the First Tuesday 'Retail Revolution' event in London this week Calver said there are simply more attractive options online for film fans, with the internet now accounting for 45 per cent of the total rentals market, as it provides a platform for more choice, greater convenience and better value-for-money.
Although LoveFilm will have 90% of the DVD on-line rental market after the merger, the OFT clearly recognises that the next disruptive wave could be coming from downloads and other VOD channels.
Read previous TAG posts connected with LoveFilm