A new multi-channel consumer service based in Dublin providing music, movies, books and more is set to go live this year with the aim of taking on established giants like iTunes, Netflix and Amazon.
This service will operate under the consumer brand ‘Digital Jet’ and will sell streamed or downloaded content to users for a subscription or pay per download fee. It will initially operate online and on mobile devices with a digital television service also being planned for the future.
Digital Jet CEO Niall O’Neill has previously used the expression creating a ‘media buffet’ to describe what the company hopes to achieve.
“What we’re trying to do is take the best of what’s available in technology and the best of what’s available in content and facilitate the consumer deciding what content they want and how they want to engage with it.”
According to Niall, one of the unique features of Digital Jet compared to digital media players like iTunes is that it will be available to use on any device regardless of brand.
“That’s one of the key elements of our service. Our business is about facilitating the end user. I’m a big Apple fan but I also love what’s happening in the Android market so our business is focused on the content and because it’s content focused the platform is irrelevant.”
The Dublin-based company currently employs 10 people and has plans to expand this to 80 in the next three years. It just opened a second office in Newry, County Down and expects to open a Silicon Valley office in February. The service will begin closed testing shortly with the aim of launching publically in the summer.
Niall describes the venture as “ambitious” and recognises the difficulties the new brand will face entering into a market dominated by existing giants.
“There are huge challenges to going into the market and some of the biggest ones for us are getting the right team and being able to deliver the same level of quality of service and meet consumer expectations.”
Despite this, he believes Digital Jet has spotted a gap for consumers. Although US-based online film and TV streaming service Netflix has recently entered the Irish and UK market Niall thinks the brand has yet to “capture the consumer imagination” in Europe. On Apple, he points out that if you’re not an Apple user then you can’t access their services. For Amazon, he views the company as “efficient” but not an “exciting brand.”
He sees Digital Jet as providing one complete package that is attractive to the consumer. “A lot of the younger generation are really tech-savvy and they know where to get content but the majority of users are not that tech-savvy and it’s a big challenge for them the find the types of content they want and there are only a few sources available.
“What we’re trying to do is something broader. We want something that is fun, exciting, sexy and that gives a bit of a wow factor.”
Netflix is currently under pressure in Ireland following its launch as many consumers view its catalogue as outdated.
What steps is Niall taking to avoid this happening with Digital Jet?
“There are limitations and restrictions. A lot of the deals that we have on the table and that we have concluded have very exciting products and I think it’s a combination of mixing the new with the old. Our pockets aren’t as deep as the other players but I think we’re equally as creative in what we do and how we’re going to present it.”
A conversation about a new online consumer service selling music and movies will invariably turn to the toughest challenge facing those industries: piracy. Digital Jet not only aims to drive value back to the copyright owners but plans to tackle the problems piracy causes for consumers, something that can be overlooked.
Niall explains, “About 70% or 80% of pirate sites are actually paid sites. There are people out there pirating content but paying to do it. The real issue is a supply and demand one and people will pay for content if you give them the right content at the right price.”
Ultimately, Niall believes that if Digital Jet delivers what it has currently planned on paper, “It’s going to blow people away.” His faith is shared by the funding world and the company has been offered its full funding of €5 million by a US-based investor and is considering this along with a number of other opportunities.