Studios begin Film Downloading

StaringatComputerScreen.jpgA couple of interesting stories have popped up over the last few days that imply that Studios are beginning to test the water on allowing the public to download movies. One of them is Warner Brothers themselves.

According to Hollywood Reporter through Kung Fu Cult Cinema, Warner Brothers in Holland is allowing downloads of movies through the local Internet provider @Home. Customers of the ISP can download movies for between 6 and 12 Euros. (At today’s exchange rate that’s 4-8 GBP, 7-14 USD). The films are then available for viewing and are copy protected.

Ruud Lamers, director of Warner Home Video Benelux, said Wednesday that the move was an important step in fighting piracy. For Warner, legal digital distribution of our product is vital for the future of our company. It could create a new business, he said.

Well yes it could, but at least you’ve tried to be honest. It’s new business, not to combat piracy. If you’re letting me download a movie to my computer rather than forcing me to watch it in the cinema or on a copy protected DVD, it’ll be much easier for me to hack the software copyrighting it than the current options. So get real, it’s not for piracy, it’s for more business.

Initially they’re looking at offering fifty titles (including the Harry Potter films), but having teamed up with another company they’re offering over 6,000 titles. Looks like the trial is running through January, so all you Dutch people go get signed up and tell us what it’s like!

Meanwhile, Hong Kong company M@TV are running a download service according to Asia Media through Kung Fu Cult Cinema:

M@TV, operated by Mei Ah Entertainment Group, has a library of more than 1,000 movies. The online store is currently on trial, at www.hongkongmovie.com, with 30 movies available. Downloading a film costs $5, which allows unlimited viewing for three days. Image quality will range between VCD and DVD…

…To download a movie, users have to register with the website, and download video-viewing software developed by Mei Ah. The files will be locked, preventing them from being burned on CD or DVD, or forwarded to other computer users.

We’ve already written about the shopping giant Tesco offering movie downloads, yet they’ve not offered the service yet. You’ve already said how you feel about downloading movies.

Looks like the revolution has started, although on a very small scale. I wonder how long this will take to hit mainstream? It’ll be interesting to hear the results, so if you’ve experienced either of these services, or are going to, please let us know how they fair.

For the rest of us we’ll have to wait and see when we can get a service, or even join the Hong Kong site! What do you think, is this a positive move, a decline in Cinema, or just another revenue slot?

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