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Hollywood Films Available Online (Legally!)

— April 4, 2006 — Pop Culture
Hollywood is embracing digital film distribution like never before. Half a dozen major studios have launched a download website, Movielink. Major movies will be available for download through the site. Users will not be able to burn the movies to DVD, except as backup copies, but the move is still seen as a major step in the right direction.

Both first run and older films will be available and will be priced similar to DVDs purchased through retail outlets. First run films will be priced between US$20 and US$30 while older titles will be available for US$10 to US$20.

Several years ago, the studios began renting films online -- usually for viewing on computer screens within a 24 hour period -- as a way of combatting piracy. Now, however, films will be available for viewers to own.

Why will the films still be so expensive, you wonder?

This represents a major shift in film distribution. Studios are proceeding cautiously since DVD sales produce more profit than box office receipts. However, studios cannot cling to their old distribution channels much longer, since major retailers are expected to begin digital distribution themselves. The studios must embrace change but are trying to preserve their revenue streams.

The participating studios are Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM.

Sony and Lionsgate have announced their own plans to sell films through a separate site, CinemaNow.

Disney has not yet announced its participation, although it may be forthcoming.
Trend Themes
1. Digital Film Distribution - The film industry should explore digital film distribution platforms to stay ahead of the game especially with the increasing shift towards digital platforms worldwide.
2. Alternative Film Distribution Channels - Studios must consider exploring alternative film distribution channels to remain profitable as major retailers shift towards digital distribution of their films.
3. Movie Ownership - Studios must embrace creating appealing products and incentives for consumers through the promotion of movie ownership rather than renting.
Industry Implications
1. Film Distribution - The film distribution industry should invest in affordable and alternative digital distribution channels to cater to the growing shift towards digital platforms worldwide.
2. Entertainment Platform - Entertainment platforms will need to invest in the necessary infrastructure and partnerships to cater to the increasing demand for digital film distribution.
3. Retail Industry - The retail industry will be forced to invest and shift towards digital distribution to stay competitive as major production companies like MGM, Sony, and Paramount move towards digital platforms.
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