December 31, 2003

Not too long ago - maybe less than 4 years ago - there was a young Unix systems admin contractor working in our ops team at work. His name was Paul. He was a smart cookie - and on recognising his talents I arranged to have him transferred to my team. He did some PERL development work for us for a while - and then he decided to move on to a job elsewhere. Less than a year later - at the height of the dot-com boom he was back with our company - and he was pretty much given the responsibility to develop prototype apps for rapid deployment - and he also had a colleague who worked with him called Graham. They were kind of PERL/PHP types - but they knew their stuff. In his spare time, Paul was a bit of a cinema buff. Him and his wife bought a house a couple of years ago - and it seems that location was less of a criteria than a decent-sized garage that could be converted into a home cinema. And that’s exactly what he did - a proper cinema projector and even installing two decks of real cinema style seating. He really loved film.

Now - sometime in the last couple of years Paul and Graham both decided to try a little business venture on the side. Totally in their spare time. The idea was a “by-post” DVD rental service which would use a website as the “shop”. They called it “DVDSONTAP”. The idea is that for less than £10 a month (less than the cost of Sky Movies subscription) you could watch as many DVDs as you liked (one at a time on the basic service - and only limited by the turnaround time of the postal service) and you could keep them for as long as you like (unlike the late fees you get charged at places like Blockbuster) and they had access to a catalogue as big as Blockbuster - if not bigger. It was a great concept - and when I heard about it I decided to become a customer - and I have been one ever since. Especially as there is another advantage (as if they needed one) that they had over Blockbuster: they had an “Indian Cinema” category in their catalogue - and a lot of my Bollywood-loving friends now swear by this fantastic service on my recommendation.

Well the service became so successful (with Paul and Graham being featured as major entrepreneurs in a major UK newspaper) that they decided to leave their day-jobs with us and go it full time with DVDSONTAP - especially now that the business was expanding and some venture capital funding had made it their way. And so it seems that the marketing boys have finally arrived as DVDSONTAP has now rebranded to LOVEFiLM - and the catalogue is now absolutely HUGE - and the Indian Cinema section is now much BIGGER than it was previously. But the service is still as efficient as it has always been.

And they are now considerably wealthier as a result. My hat goes off to them! Well done to Paul and Graham!

WARNING - For fast-car fans only: As a testament to their new found wealth - do a RIGHT-CLICK-AND-SAVE-TARGET-AS here - to download a 2Mbyte Windows movie file that has been circulating Ferrari-lovers bulletin boards all around the world. It’s a short video of someone in the passenger-side of Graham’s new TVR - filming Paul in his new Ferrari cruising through outer-London country roads! When it’s downloaded - double-click on it - and then turn up the volume and listen to the guy who’s doing the commentary - at one point it sounds like he is going to go to the toilet right there and then. Also listen to the roar of the Ferrari as Paul puts his foot down. I’m sure some of you will really appreciate that. (ANOTHER WARNING: The video features some explicit language by the commentator!)

Anyway - LOVEFiLM operates a “rental queue” concept - which is where you can nominate as many DVDs as you like to be in your priority list - and when you’ve finished with a DVD and sent it back - the next available film in your rental queue will be posted to you. Having just sent “Phone Booth” back - I am now awaiting an Indian film called “16 December”. Directed by Mani Shankar and starring, amongst others, models-turned-actor/actress Milind Soman and the Assamese Dipannita Sharma. Yes - probably not very well known Indian actors/actresses - but interesting choices from the debut director nevertheless.

16 December - Indian film next in my rental queue from LOVEFiLM

Posted by jag at December 31, 2003 06:58 AM

I can thoroughly recommend them too. Only been using them for a few months, but they’ve got a fantastic film catalogue (our local blockbuster is really really crap) - it’s the best 10 quid I spend each month.

Posted by: Pewari on December 31, 2003 03:48 PM

Couldn’t agree more Pew! Blockbuster is a scam compared to LOVEFiLM

Posted by: Jag on December 31, 2003 06:19 PM

Nice scheme going on there.

Posted by: sat on January 1, 2004 05:23 AM

Pewari - that’s great to hear - thanks.

And thanks Jag, for your kind words.
Have a great 2004 everyone!

Posted by: Paul on January 1, 2004 06:29 AM

Thanks for visiting Paul - and keep up the great work!

Posted by: Jag on January 1, 2004 01:26 PM

thanks for the recommendation Jag - they sound great and I’m definitely gonna try them

Posted by: sue on January 9, 2004 09:18 AM
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