Movies To Be For Sale Online at DVD Release

Digital film distributors Movielink and CinemaNow have announced rental and download-to-own versions of major films from major Hollywood studios available the same day the films are released on DVD.

Movielink’s deal covers Paramount, Sony Pictures, MGM, Warner Bros., and Universal (not surprising, because they own Movielink) as well as Twentieth Century Fox. CinemaNow has signed agreements with Sony, MGM, and LionsGate Entertainment, which holds a large stake in CinemaNow. The services are currently only available to U.S. customers.

Movielink is pricing download-to-own movies at $20 to $30, but notes older titles may be available for as little as $10. CinemaNow titles will range from $9.95 to $19.95. Both services will enable consumers to burn movies to DVD for backup purposes in Windows Media format, but will not be able to burn the movies in standard DVD format for playback on consumer DVD players. Movies ca be viewed on up to three PCs and streamed to other devices via home networking.

Titles available for purchase today from Movielink include King Kong,Good Night, and Good Luck,Walk the Line,Memoirs of a Geisha,Hustle and Flow, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

“As a pioneer in this space, Movielink has consistently delivered an affordable, high quality and easy to use VOD service, so it is only fitting that Movielink is the first to offer this revolutionary expansion of consumer options, including the ability to buy major studio releases online day-and-date with DVDs,” said Jim Ramo, CEO, Movielink.

Both Movielink and CinemaNow had offered downloadable video rentals as well as a handful of download-to-own titles; however, titles available for purchase never previously included recently-released top-flight and blockbuster films, instead sticking to older and B-grade features. These agreements are expected to be the first of several Internet-based digital movie distribution agreements coming from major studios in the coming months: neither arrangement is exclusive, and studios make no secret they’re eager to set up deals with other online distributors.

Both CinemaNow and Movelink require Windows 2000 or XP; Macintosh systems, Linux, and older versions of Windows are not supported.