Movielink’s pricey Windows-only download service for major motion pictures likely to backfire

“It’s official, if not particularly surprising: Movie downloads have arrived. Consumers are clearly interested in video downloads, but Monday’s news from the major movie studios looks like a pricey experiment,” Alyce Lomax writes for The Motley Fool. “The major movie studios — General Electric’s NBC Universal, Time Warner’s Warner Bros., Sony’s Sony Pictures, Viacom’s Paramount, and News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox — will begin to sell downloads of movies simultaneously with the films’ DVD releases. The studios will distribute the movies through Movielink LLC, which is owned by several of the major film studios. (Movielink rival CinemaNow has also made a similar deal with Sony and Lions Gate.) However, consumers will pay through the nose for their digital flick fix. News reports say the download fees will be a steep $20 to $30 for new releases, although older flicks will be considerably cheaper. Although buyers will be able to burn backup DVDs of the movies and watch them on up to three computers, those DVD copies won’t yet play on regular DVD players.”

“Although movie studios want to discourage digital piracy, I think such high price points are likely to backfire,” Lomax writes. “Apple really solidified the idea that consumers would be willing to pay for video downloads with its gradual addition of music videos and TV shows to its iTunes Music Store. To date, however, Apple hasn’t struck a deal with the movie studios. Movie downloads may be here, but given their limitations and high price, I doubt they’ll be a force to reckon with just yet. I wonder if the movie industry will make some of the same mistakes as the music business has; its desire to charge premiums will only serve as a steep psychological barrier to sales, and it might drive tech-savvy consumers to piracy. Nice shot, Hollywood, but this volley seems to have missed the mark.”

Full article here.

“The movies are encoded in Windows Media format, and are about one gigabyte in size. For those who don’t know, movies on DVD are typically about 4-6 GBs. So not only are the movies more expensive and less flexible, they are lower quality too,” Mike evangelist writes for Writer’s Block Live. “I don’t know why I am even surprised by this stuff anymore. It simply continues the efforts of the movie studios and record companies to deliver less and charge more… What are these guys smoking!?”

Full article here.

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Related article:
Mac users need not apply: Movielink launches Windows-only download service for major motion pictures – April 03, 2006


  1. Much better to buy a DVD with full quality built in, and rip it to your other devices as need be.

    Speaking of which, I’m thinking of buying the iPod with video for my trip to Europe later this month. I have a flat panel iMac with Firewire and USB 1.0, but no USB 2.0. I think the iPod with video only loads with USB – no Firewire – is this right? If so, what are my options for loading video onto the iPod? Either USB 1.0 at an extremely slow rate, or is there some other way?

  2. Yeh-heh-hehesssssss . . . I LOVE it! Now YOU too can be treated with equal disdain by the movie studios — just like the record companies did before iTunes.

    Come onnnnn!!!! These are de same morons who turned down my high-concept Wacko Jacko movies: “Brokeback Soda Fountain” and “Good Night, and Let’s F*ck”. Yeh-hehesssss . . . pony up de big dough for de same crap you can get at Best Buy for $9.98! And that you can play on a real DVD player!!

    This has about as much chance of ever working as a slimmed-down Starr Jones.

  3. They didn’t even mention (at least not on MDN) that the download may take a day . . .

    Just how I want to get my movies. One day to download, another to burn to DVD, now let’s watch it on an HDTV with the reduced resolution! What fun!

    Oh, and it costs $5-$10 more than stopping a Wal-mart for a real DVD with a case. Throw in having to buy DVD media at $1 apiece for quality DVDs so you don’t make coasters, and this is quite the plan.

    Now we’re waiting for these trials to fail so that Apple can swing in and save the day.

  4. I’d be willing to pay $9.99 for a lower quality new release or $19.99 for a download that was the same quality as DVD. Now, if the movie studios could find a way to release a 720p movie download in H.264 that wasn’t too large, well then I’d pay a premium for that. Maybe $25.00. But $25-$30 for a lower than DVD quality download. You’ve got to be joking.

  5. you wait and see, the movie moguls (sans Disney….) have made their first move and it’s stinks of greed and avarice, typical. Then along comes Apple selling Disney content at fair prices and just see who gets the 1st billion downloads. Now, it could be said that Disney siding with Apple will spoil Apple’s pitch to the other movie guys, I think not, SJ can see these first forays failing miserably and that’s when the studios see ITMS selling hot cakes. So either they stand on the sidewalk and watch Apple romp home or eat some humble pie and come begging.
    I have this feeling that the public are getting the perception that Apple=value for money.

  6. If Apple’s FrontRow begins offering downloadable/streamable movies to people. What would that mean is… People wouldnt bother with MovieLink.

    So they are making every attempt possible to give people reason not to switch to iMACS,

    by the way MovieLink has been around for years and for Windows only. The only reason why they are making news right now is probably because they realize to many people are switching to iMacs

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