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Hollywood Film Studios Introduce New Digital Downloading Service Print E-mail
Monday, 10 April 2006
Hollywood’s major film studios have taken a first step in offering downloadable digital film versions. Six of the top seven studios (Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, Paramount, 20th century Fox, and MGM) announced that they will begin offering new releases and some older releases for download via the Movielink website. This download site is owned jointly by the major film studios. Separately, Sony and Lionsgate announced that they will sell films through the CinemaNow website. There will be some restrictions on the download movie files. They will not be burnable to DVD for viewing on a standalone DVD player. However, they will be burnable to DVD for backup purposes. A software lock will be implemented to prevent them from being played on more than three computers, which must be registered with the Movielink website. The CinemaNow website will allow the user to play the movie on one computer.

Prices for digital downloads of new releases will begin at $20 to $30 each. Older titles will cost slightly less. The new releases will be available for download about 45 days after the movie has been released on DVD and in rental stores.

This is only a preliminary model of the digital distribution system. It is possible that the studios will allow for DVD-compliant burnable downloads as well as transfer to portable devices in future versions. The film studios seem to be starting out on digital downloads much like the music industry’s start in controlled music downloads. They will surely find their footing soon as the music industry did.

Source: Associated Press

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