AfterDawn: Tech news

Movie studios form a joint VOD venture

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 17 Aug 2001 1:25

In surprising announcement yesterday, five out of seven major movie studios announced that they have formed a joint on-demand movie service that will launch within 6 months or so. Service is meant for broadband PC users, who can download a movie to their computers and watch it after paying a fee. Pricing is going to be competitive with pay-per-view services, around $3 - $5 for a movie.
Movie studios involved with the service are MGM, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios (owned by Vivendi), Paramount (owned by Viacom) and Warner Bros (owned by AOL TimeWarner). Only two major studios left out are Disney and 20th Century Fox (owned by News Corp) -- Disney has told to press that it will launch a similiar service through its Movies.com web site later this year.

Technology behind the service was developed by Sony during last 2 years in a project dubbed as Moviefly. Some analysts are guessing that this new joint venture might get in serious trouble from lawmakers -- European Commission and U.S. government are currently investigating similiar music services, Pressplay and Musicnet trying to decide do they limit competition. It would also be interesting to know how studios are going to limit the access for the service so that users outside the U.S. wont have the access to these movies (in many cases the movies are released on DVD in States when they arrive to theatres in Europe).

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