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Hollywood studios now selling downloadable movies online

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, April 3, 2006
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Today, six of the major studios began selling downloadable full-length movies online through the Movielink service, which is owned by Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, Universal, MGM, and Paramount. Until today, only rentable downloads had been offered by the studios, which could be watched only during a 24-hour window. The movie files will take up around a gigabyte of storage, and will take an hour or two to download, depending on the internet connection.

The new downloads can’t be transferred and played on video-capable iPods, nor can they be played on portable media players that support Microsoft’s WMV format. Pricing of the films may also be a deterrent. New releases will cost about $20 to $30 to download, while older titles will cost as little as $10. New releases will be available for download on the same day that the DVD is released — much quicker than films available for rental, which are put online about 45 days later and cost $2 to $5.

Fortunately for iPod owners, iTunes may not be too far from offering iPod-compatible movie downloads itself. The Times reports:

Apple, Amazon.com and other online retailers are also busily trying to cut deals with Hollywood to sell downloads, according to several studio executives. In general, the studios want to make downloads available on largely the same terms, in as many places as possible. “We are talking to a lot of people, and hopefully our movies will be on many other sites shortly,” said Rick Finkelstein, the president of Universal Pictures.

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Comments

21

If you download it for $30 I would hope you could burn it at least once, but I bet you can’t. If you can’t burn it this is a joke. They’re only doing it because it’s easy and cheap and there’s a sucker born every minute.

Posted by TheBigNewt on April 4, 2006 at 1:18 PM (PDT)

22

Movielink - Bite Me!

Posted by boolander on April 4, 2006 at 2:24 PM (PDT)

23

No Opera support = no sale!  well, that and their crazy prices!

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on April 4, 2006 at 5:31 PM (PDT)

24

The sad thing here is that when Apple releases a download service with equally ridiculous terms, then the word in here will be very different, praising the elegant idea.

Apple will not do anything better here. They also only sell you very limited rights to use some content. When you buy from the iTunes store, you then own nothing that you call sell afterwards.

Posted by Spettekaka on April 5, 2006 at 3:49 AM (PDT)

25

Spettekaka…

Keep in mind the ONLY company really holding firm on low music download prices IS Apple. If given a choice, I’m sure it’s safe to assume that Jobs would keep pricing at a _reasonable_ level. That being said, he may have his hands tied, as the movie companies seem to have learned from their first pricing/control “mistakes”.

Posted by SlimJim on April 5, 2006 at 9:13 AM (PDT)

26

They have learned nothing from the iTMS pricing strategy. If this is the model the studios have pushed for Apple to adopt in its movie store, it’s no wonder we haven’t seen it yet. It’s moronic and a rip-off and demonstrates the studios think consumers are stupid.

Posted by bipto in Minneapolis, MN on April 6, 2006 at 4:07 AM (PDT)

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