Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Studios Take First Steps in Online VOD Distribution; Indie Companies Tentative So Far

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 4, 2006 at 10:12AM

The Hollywood studios (with the exception of Disney) announced Monday the launch of a new movie downloading service that will release films on DVD and via online video-on-demand (VOD) on the same day. The tandem initiative from Movielink.com and MGM, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. studios begins today with the debut of the Oscar-winning "Brokeback Mountain" on both DVD and via online VOD, but at a higher price and with more restrictions than currently seen in traditional DVD distribution. The news, along with a separate announcement by Cinema Now opening a similar online store in cooperation with Lionsgate and select studios, marks the first steps into an online movie marketplace aimed at luring viewers to create their own digital film library. Reacting to the announcement, some indie distributors seem particularly cautious as they wait to see how profitable the initiative is.
2

The Hollywood studios (with the exception of Disney) announced Monday the launch of a new movie downloading service that will release films on DVD and via online video-on-demand (VOD) on the same day. The tandem initiative from Movielink.com and MGM, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. studios begins today with the debut of the Oscar-winning "Brokeback Mountain" on both DVD and via online VOD, but at a higher price and with more restrictions than currently seen in traditional DVD distribution. The news, along with a separate announcement by Cinema Now opening a similar online store in cooperation with Lionsgate and select studios, marks the first steps into an online movie marketplace aimed at luring viewers to create their own digital film library. Reacting to the announcement, some indie distributors seem particularly cautious as they wait to see how profitable the initiative is.

The Movielink service, not available to Mac users because Apple is understood to be pursuing its online movie store via iTunes, allows buyers to access a DVD quality download of the film for 24 hours or purchase the download for long term viewing at prices ranging from as low as $10 for older films, and up to as much as $30 for new movies. In addition to the new films available on the day of the DVD release, Movielink also unveiled a library of titles available for immediate download by customers, including "King Kong", "Good Night, and Good Luck", "Walk the Line", "Memoirs of a Geisha", "Hustle and Flow", among others. And also Monday, Cinema Now announced its own debut of a similar program, in cooperation with Lionsgate and select studio.

While some indie companies have experimented with other forms of day and date releasing, such as theatrical and DVD distribution on the same date from Magnolia Pictures or theatrical and cable-on-demand distribution from IFC Films, no other distributors have widely embraced simultaneously releasing movies on both DVD and online download as of yet. Reached today, a number of smaller distributors said that they are still exploring the concept.

"It's an inevitability, but whether it is something we need to do now or not, well, the numbers will speak for themselves," explained Strand Releasing co-president Jon Gerrans, in an email exchange with indieWIRE today, "When we see persuasive data justifying a simultaneous release, we will do it." Strand has previously explored a similar online VOD program through DIVX for six months, but Gerrans explained that the revenue from the initiative did not justify the effort. So he emphasized that they are taking a "wait-and-see" approach.

Marc Mauceri, a VP at First Run Features, explained that his company is exploring online VOD opportunities, certain that it will increase the potential audience for independent, documentary and foreign language films, but unsure whether it will increase revenue. The company is not ready to divulge details, but sees the possibility of expanding into VOD in the next few months.

"No one knows yet," Mauceri explained regarding the potential for such services, adding, "But it's probably worth exploring."

Over at Palm Pictures, the company has already established a VOD channel on the Comcast cable system, showing a mix of Palm films and other titles as well. The films are screened once they have already become available on DVD, but company head of acquisitions and productions David Koh explained that with the windows between theatrical and DVD distribution collapsing, other revenue streams like VOD and digital downloading are important to consider. "(They) add more revenue streams and are perhaps new ways outside of the traditional ways to make money to make a film more profitable," said Koh, in email comments to indieWIRE.

Among the hurdles for a streamlined experience via the new online VOD system are sharing and storage. Indeed, Movielink customers can create a permanent library and view it on up to three PCs, but movies can only be transferred to a DVD in Windows Media format. However, the films can be streamed in the home using a Media Edition PC that will allow customers to watch the film on TV via an Xbox or other hardware. In a phone call with journalists, reps for the participating studios expressed a commitment to simplify the procedures. Plans to offer HD versions of films are also in the works, the studio executives said.

"The studios are embracing the Internet as a viable distribution platform for their movies, and providing this service will also help to convert Internet pirates into legitimate customers," said Movielink CEO Jim Ramo, in a statement Monday. "Movielink has carved out a position in the broadband market as the place to come for high quality long form entertainment, and we intend to continue to expand consumer options as the Internet delivery of movies becomes a significant channel of distribution."

"We are focused on traditional forms of distribution but have our hand in the new ways of digitally distributing both on the film side and on the music side," said Palm Pictures' David Koh, in comments to indieWIRE, "I am not sure what technology will proliferate or be dominant but it all looks like the consumer wants to have specific content curated for them and also available to them when and where they want it. The technology is more a thing of convenience and also acts as a way for the smaller companies to compete with the larger studios without the same outlay of money."






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More