Target closes down its Target Ticket digital movie store

Target Ticket, we hardly knew ye: Less than 18 months after launching it, Target is closing down its digital video store. Target Ticket will be shuttered in March, according to a note on the service’s website:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”Target has made the decision to end the services offered on Target Ticket and will be focusing efforts on other entertainment offerings. Effective March 7th, 2015, Target Ticket will no longer be accessible on your device applications, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones or on the web. We value you as a Target guest and apologize for the inconvenience this causes.”[/blockquote]

Target Ticket discontinued new rentals on Tuesday, and users will be able to access their paid movies through Cinemanow starting on March 7th — if rights holders agree, that is. These services often have different agreements with rights holders, and not all titles available through Target Ticket will necessarily also be available through Cinemanow. However, Target is promising that customers will get Cinemanow coupons for any movies that can’t be transferred.

Target Ticket is one of a number of online video services launched and then discontinued by major brands. Last year, Verizon and Redbox decided to shutter their Redbox Instant service, and months before that, Samsung pulled the plug on its own movie download store.

Vimeo partners with Atlantic, CBS to take paid videos everywhere

IAC-owned video service Vimeo took the next step for its Vimeo On Demand platform Thursday: Vimeo’s paid videos are now available on the websites of partners, including The Atlantic, CBS Interactive and The Enthusiast Network. Partners will sell Vimeo videos on their site and in turn get a cut of each sale.

[company]Vimeo[/company] launched its Vimeo on Demand program close to two years ago, and now distributes more than 50,000 titles through it. Consumers can either rent a title for up to 72 hours, or buy it as a DRM-free download. Up until now, Vimeo’s paid titles were only aggregated on the site itself, but anyone could embed single titles anywhere.

With the launch of the Vimeo on Demand publisher network, consumers will also be able to find and purchase curated catalogs of titles directly on The Atlantic’s website, as well as on the CBS interactive sites TVGuide.com, TV.com and Metacritic and on websites run by the Enthusiast Network, which include GrindTV and TransWorld Skateboarding.

However, Vimeo on Demand isn’t the only service trying to cater to indie filmmakers. BitTorrent recently introduced a paywall for its BitTorrent Bundles, and VHX just raised another $5 million for its self-distribution platform.

This post was updated at 8:47am to clarify the relationship between Vimeo and its partners.

Vimeo starts offering 4K downloads, but shies away from streaming

Vimeo-loving video producers can finally put that expensive Red camera to good use: Vimeo is now allowing Pro subscribers to offer 4K downloads of their movies, and anyone who wants to sell their videos through Vimeo’s VOD platform can also offer those paid downloads in 4K to consumers.

However, Vimeo isn’t offering 4K streaming just yet. “It’s pretty early for streaming,” said Andrew Pile, Vimeo CTO, during an interview last week. That’s in part because there are simply not that many devices that stream 4K content out there yet. There is no affordable streaming device capable of 4K playback, and few people have a 4K monitor for their desktop computer. But that could change soon, according to Pile. “The new iMac is gonna be a turning point,” he told me.

So why offer 4K at all if most consumers are simply not ready for the ultra-high resolution yet? Because filmmakers have been shooting in 4K for a while, and some of them have already been uploading 4K content to Vimeo. That’s especially true for artists participating in Vimeo’s VOD store, explained Pile: “A lot of these things are captured on Red cameras.” Up until now, Vimeo has been transcoding 4K downloads to lower resolutions. Now, it’s keeping them intact, and available to download.

4K was supposed to be a big step forward for online video services in 2014, but the roll-out of 4K content has been slow because of technical and business model challenges.

UK’s EE unveils mobile-friendly TV service

The U.K. mobile carrier EE, which also offers fixed-line services, has launched a TV service called EE TV, featuring a set-top box that lets customers use their smartphones or tablets as the remote control. They can also watch programming on their mobile devices, with the possibility for up to four different streams of live or recorded shows. EE said it will in the future allow them to watch while on the move too, through the firm’s 4G network. The service will include standard Freeview live channels as well as the likes of Daily Motion, YouTube and Wuaki.tv.

Google brings its Play Movies video service to 39 new countries

Google (s GOOG) just rolled out its Play Movies service, which offers Hollywood Blockbusters for rent or sale, in a whole bunch of additional countries — 39, to be precise, including a number of countries in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. This means that Google Play Movies is now available in about 60 countries around the world. However, TV show episodes are still just available in Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, United States.

Amazon Instant launches in Japan

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/amazon-launches-online-video-service-660546

Japanese TV fans got one more option to get their movie fix this week: Amazon launched its Instant Video service in Japan Tuesday, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The offering has 26,000 movies and TV show episodes available for rent and purchase, but Amazon isn’t currently offering a Prime Instant-like subscription to Japanese customers. The launch coincided with the introduction of the Kindle Fire HDX in Japan.

Comcast wants to sell movies through its set-top boxes

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/14/us-comcast-idUSBRE9AD1CV20131114

Comcast plans to launch a digital download store for movies and TV shows by the end of the year, according to Reuters. The cable operators plans to offer videos for sale on its website as well as through its cable boxes, presumably to offer subscribers access to more fare than its existing VOD service has in stock. For the studios, this would be another way to push people towards buying digital movies – but is anyone really interested in owning a movie anymore?