Monday, April 03, 2006

Movie Downloads

Five Hollywood studios are joining the digital revolution as they start selling digital downloads of movies for the first time. Hits like King Kong and Brokeback Mountain are among the titles that are available to be bought and downloaded to computers.

Movielink…a site co-owned by Sony, Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal, and 20th Century Fox…will make some releases available at the same time the movies go on sale on DVD and others will be available for download sale within 45 days of DVD release. (FYI: the Movielink site does not support the Firefox or Netscape browsers.)

Recent releases will be sold for $20-$30 and older movies will be available for download for $10-$20. (These prices seem a bit high given discounts available for DVDs at places like but perhaps a lot of people will be willing to pay those prices in order to have immediate access to movies. We shall see.)

Customers will not be able to burn the movies onto discs to be played on DVDs but they will be able to be stored on computers indefinitely. The movies will also be able to be transferred to two other computers. (Transfers of movies to handheld devices are not available yet but that capability is in the offing.)

Sony and Lionsgate will also be selling movie downloads through another site, CinemaNow (which appears to accessible to Firefox and Netscape as well as Internet Explorer.)

Of the major studios only Disney is shying away from digital downloads of their films for the time being. This is likely to change though.

Personally I’m not that excited about watching movies on my computer but I have to give the major studios credit for, however reluctantly, acknowledging that the ways movies are being viewed, rented, and purchased are indeed changing.


Marina said...

Aww, wow, very interesting, thanks for sharing ;). Gotta try it!

Very Anonymous Mike said...

So... I pay more and get less? (As in, I have to watch it on a computer. No disc. No cover art. No art on the disk. Can't burn it.)
Also, it's going to take a large chunk of my hard drive space? There's only one kind of film that takes a large chunk of my hard drive space.

David Bowie tried this same business plan once. (Same price as a cd, but you downloaded it yourself, doing all the work, and supplying all the materials yourself.)

Never tried it again.