Due to fears about digital piracy, the film industry has taken a bold step, which seems to be working very well and catching on with the masses. Hollywood, fearful of what happened to the music industry due to piracy, and its vendors, coming under intense pressure, have began offering consumers the opportunity to buy movie downloads.
At the moment, only two download services, Movielink and CinemaNow, are offering these new services. The new service of buying movie downloads online is changing the traditional way of releasing movies. Both the sites will be having the movie downloads at exactly the same time the DVDs will be released on the market. His will also bring Hollywood studios in competition with DVD retailers such as Wal-Mart and Blockbuster. Hollywood would now also be expanding its revenue sources.
Some of the features offered by Movielink include films from six of the top seven in Hollywood, with titles such as King Kong, Saw II, Brokeback Mountain, and the latest Harry Potter movies.
However, there are restrictions involved this process as well. While Movielink will be providing movies from all studios, CinemaNow will only have movies from the studios of Sony, MGM, and Lionsgate. Movielink will not be having any movies from Walt Disney (DIS), while CinemaNow won't have movies from Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount, Fox, or Disney. Among CinemaNow's early offerings included Memoirs of a Geisha, Brokeback Mountain, Fun with Dick and Jane, etc.
Both movie sites debuted with several hundred older films. Unlike their current services, in which online shoppers pay around $ 4 to rent new movies for up to a month, the movies will be sold for prices "similar to home video". That means, that each movie will cost around $ 20 to $ 30 for newer films, and $ 10 to $ 20 for older movies. Amongst the two sites, CinemaNow is emerging to the more aggressive site, offering some of its new movies for under $ 20 as well in order to increase traffic to the site. It was also offering a two-for-one sale at the start of its website, where the second film costs $ 4.95 only.
However, in order to avoid direct competition with retailers, the downloaded movies are available with several restrictions. Both sites only allow the downloaded movies to be stored on computers or on game player like Xbox which have Microsoft softwares. Customers will not be able to burn or copy the downloaded movies onto CDs or onto DVD players. However, you can share the movies from one computer to another. Customers can also connect their PCs to their televisions to play the downloaded movie from their computers onto their TV sets.
This new buy movie downloads services is a major change for movie studios, one that is surely going to go a long way in curbing piracy. However, many studios are worried that the movies will not be safeguarded if they stay on computers for longer periods of time. The effectiveness of this service, though, still remains to be seen.