Target’s Video Streaming Service ‘Target Ticket’ Shutting Down – What Consumers Need To Know

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It’s Been Less Than A Year Since I Shared Target Ticket

…and that video streaming service is already withering on the vine. Not that it’s easy to tell; as of this writing, if you go to the Target Ticket site you’ll see this at the top of the webpage (tap or click on images to view a larger version in a new tab or window):




Based on that you’d think everything is just fine and dandy with Target Ticket, and that Target Ticket is still signing up new customers. But if you scroll down a bit, you’ll find this message lower down on the same page:




Customers Must Switch To CinemaNow, and May Lose Some Videos

If you read that warning above closely, you’ll notice that it says “CinemaNow is available at NO COST to you and you’ll be able to access your movies purchased from Target Ticket that are also available through the CinemaNow service.” You might also notice that Target Ticket does not address availability of “your movies purchased from Target Ticket” that are NOT also available through the CinemaNow service. Which means you’ve simply lost any movies you bought from Target Ticket that are NOT also available through CinemaNow.

In fairness, all of the movies I got for free when signing up for Target Ticket (I’ve never bought or rented anything from the service) were available on CinemaNow, and it appears to me that any Target Ticket titles that are available in UltraViolet digital format will be available on CinemaNow.

I can’t speak to other digital formats though, and the very fact that Target Ticket must specify that the only TT purchases that will remain available to the buyer are those that are also available through CinemaNow tells me TT anticipates at least some of their customers’ purchases will be lost.



This Is Why I ONLY Buy Digital Videos From Amazon

Many streaming video services that promised to provide safe, reliable, convenient access to rented and purchased digital videos have come and gone over the years, Target Ticket is just the most recent casualty. I have little doubt that some of the video streaming services out there today—maybe even CinemaNow—will eventually go the way of Target Ticket, and when they do consumers will probably lose at least a few of the videos they’ve bought due to licensing problems or technical incompatibilities.

While there’s no guarantee that ANY company will remain in business forever, and there’s ALWAYS a risk of losing digital content if the company you bought it from fails, choosing to hitch your digital video wagon to an established, trusted, entrenched vendor is just about the only safeguard you have against these kinds of future losses. As of this writing, only two digital video vendors fit that bill: Amazon and iTunes.



I used to buy my digital videos from iTunes but eventually I got sick and tired of their high prices and the fact that I could ONLY watch my iTunes digital videos in the iTunes program or on an Apple device. The whole point of replacing my discs with digital was to maximize convenience and availability of my videos: I wanted to be able to watch them wherever I was (assuming electricity and WiFi availability), whenever I wanted to, on whatever device I liked. iTunes wasn’t meeting my needs, but there weren’t any great alternatives. Until Amazon Instant Video came along.

Amazon Instant Videos are generally less expensive than the same content on iTunes, and they are definitely available to watch through a much wider variety of devices, both in the home and on the road. Click here to view Amazon’s page that lists all of the MANY compatible devices. There has yet to be a circumstance where I wanted to access and watch one of my Amazon Instant Videos and couldn’t; it used to happen all the time when my digital video library was in iTunes.



Yes, when I transitioned to Amazon Instant Video I more or less lost all my iTunes digital videos, and had to re-purchase the videos I still wanted in Amazon Instant Video format. But I blame Apple for that, not Amazon, because it’s Apple’s digital rights management (DRM) policies that locked all my iTunes purchases into Apple devices in the first place.

No other service has yet come along that can compete with Amazon Instant Video in terms of pricing, video availability or support for such a wide variety of viewing options and devices. But frankly, even if one did, at this point I’ve bought far too many Amazon Instant Videos to walk away and start over with a new service. This is the crux of why most digital video startups are doomed to fail.



But Couldn’t Amazon Go Out Of Business?

Sure, someday. But I don’t see it happening in my lifetime. Amazon is so huge, and has invested so heavily in its digital content ecosystem, that something truly catastrophic would have to happen for Amazon to shut down its digital video division. The more likely scenario is that some future competitor comes along and slowly chips away at Amazon’s market share until the once-great e-tailing dynamo finds itself struggling to remain relevant and competitive. But again, even in that scenario I’d be pushing up the daisies long before Amazon follows me to the grave.

Until then, as technologies change and advance Amazon will be keeping pace to ensure its customers retain full ownership of, and access to, the digital content they’ve purchased from Amazon—not to be nice, but to protect its own investment in digital technology and to retain and grow its market share among digital content vendors.


So go ahead and sign up for CinemaNow, Target Ticket customers. Just don’t count on all of your videos surviving the transition, and don’t assume those that do will remain accessible to you forever.


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And now……

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Fire Tablet Tech Tip of the Week: The Mystery of the Re-Appearing Fire Content, Solved!

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