Universal launches film download/DVD service in UK

“Universal Pictures has launched a new service in Britain that will sell digital downloads of movies such as ‘King Kong’ along with a DVD copy, tapping into the online video market now dominated by Apple’s iTunes,” Tim Castle reports for Reuters. “From April 10, consumers will be able to download two digital copies of selected movies — one for a computer and one for a portable device — and receive a DVD in the mail… The new service announced on Thursday is download-to-own, meaning that the downloads will not expire.”

“The new service will use Microsoft’s digital rights management technology, which is designed to prevent consumers from duplicating the movies, burning them to disc or uploading them to the Internet,” Castle reports. “Universal will start the service with ‘King Kong’ as part of an initial collection of 35 movies, including ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Serenity.’ ‘King Kong’ will sell for 19.99 pounds, roughly equal to the retail price.”

Full article here.

Apple earlier this month began offering what many believe to be a test of a feature-length movie downloads with the full-length Disney television movie High School Musical for US$9.99.

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Related articles:
Apple jacks price of first full-length iTunes Store movie from $1.99 to $9.99 – March 15, 2006
Apple offers first full-length movie for sale via iTunes Store – March 14, 2006


  1. Hopefully this will force Apple to open thier moviestore. Though who the hell wants a DVD when you already have the movie? I have a bunch of DVDs but it’s alot easier to fire up the movies from the fileserver.

  2. well this sounds like it will be more windows-only crap. hopefully apple can come out with something cross-platform and convince enough of these companies to release through iTunes.

  3. If it’s got Micro$oftopoly Janus DRM it is a NO SALE. Analysts take note– NO SALE. I have over 2,000 purchased iTunes files on my computer and a good portion are video.

    GE/Universal, MPAA, Hollywood, Media Analysts take note:

    Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER. Windows Media and Janus DRM = NO SALE– EVER.

    The companies pimping Micro$oftopoly’s Windoze Media and Janus DRM are the ones drinking Kool-Aid. The War is over and the AAC/MPEG-4/FairPlay Camp has won. Get over it.

  4. Don’t they have a version of Netflix in Britian?

    People could just rent the movie, and 20 more in the same month for only $25 a month. No late fee’s.

    Rip using Handbrake right into iPod format.

  5. “King Kong” fer 19.99 pound of what, boy? Potatoes? Boiled cabbage? I won’t give ye more than 7 pounds fer the big monkey, ye connivin’ bastard. Off with ye now, before I make ye regret tha day ye dear mudder Ballmer bore ye.

  6. The original writer was obviously using Windows. That’s another of the things about Macs, it’s so easy to find non-native characters for your keyboard layout. Much easier than writing out 19.99 pounds, which isn’t right anyway. It should be “19 pound 99 pence”.

    Anyway, back on topic, the Universal UK head honcho was on BBC Breakfast this morning plugging this service to Declan, the financial and markets guy. Every e-mail Declan read out from viewers basically said that this was way too expensive when you can get the DVD in Sainsbury’s for £14.83. Everyone seems to understand that you can rip the DVD on your computer to whatever format you want in less time than the download would take even on a fast broadband connection, and that by doing that you save money. So if even those who do like to purchase content rather than steal aren’t going to buy into this, how can Universal expect the pirates to?

    Unless the prices get lowered, this is going nowhere. If Universal offered the downloads without the DVD at £7.50, they may get takers. Otherwise they should save themselves the bother and shut up the service now.

    Maybe this explains the delay in iTMS offering full films. The studios want to charge what Apple knows people won’t pay. Stalemate.

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