Chapell & Associates

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hollywood Studios to Start Selling Films Online - April 4, 2006
Hollywood studios will start selling digital versions of films such as "Brokeback Mountain" and "King Kong" on the Internet this week, the first time major movies have been available online to own. The films can't be burned onto a disc for viewing on a DVD player. Still, the move is seen as a step toward full digital distribution of movies over the Internet. Six studios said Monday that sales will begin through the download Web site Movielink. The site is jointly owned by five of the seven major studios.

The Chapell View
Based upon this announcement, there are two things we'll be looking at in the near future.

  • Ads anyone? - Now that we have an online distribution model for movies, how long until consumers are offered an ad-supported version of the movie? Moreover, how will those ads appear? Will they resemble the traditional 30 second spot? Will the ads be in addition to upcoming movie trailers which most of us already see on the DVDs we rent? Since most of these downloads are exclusively for use on the computer, will the user receive pop-up ads, or have their surfing behavior tracked? It'll be interesting to see how this is all presented to the User - but c'mon kids, we all know it's coming.

  • DRM for dummies - How will the movie studios be able to secure their intellectual property in a way that allows some level of reasonable use for the consumer? If I pay $30 for a download of King Kong, am I going to be able to play it for my grandkids in 20 years? Is it reasonable for me to expect to do so given that NOBODY knows what we'll be using to play movies then? (On an unrelated note, I've heard from a reliable source that Smell-o-Vision is going to replace television.) More importantly, if the movie studios are going to restrict the use of their intellectual property, are they going to communicate those limitations in a manner and place that the average consumer is likely to read and understand? As my good friend Dr. Phil says, "past behavior is a great indicator of future success." If that's true, then I definitely have my doubts.
posted by Alan on Wednesday, April 05, 2006

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