Looking to cash in on consumers’ desire to be able to access any manner of media from their mobile phones, Samsung has taken the wraps off a public beta version of Samsung Movies, a new service that enables users to buy or rent movies and television episodes for their mobile phones. The service features both current and library titles from major Hollywood studios (Warner Bros., Paramount, and Universal are on board); Samsung movies currently offers over 500 titles, and plans to offer 1,000 by the end of the first quarter of 2009, and 2,000 titles by the end of June.
Samsung is launching the service in the UK and Germany, and plans to extend the service to other European markets during 2009. The service is based on technology from the privately-owned movie retailer Acetrax, which has inked the distribution deals with the movie studios. Samsung is the first company to take Acetrax’s service to a global market. The service is currently only available for Samsung’s Tocco Ultra Edition (S8300) phone, but the company will support more devices soon. Users download the movies and television shows to their PCs, then sync them to their mobile device. The service uses Windows Media DRM.
A 24-hour movie rental is priced at £2.49 (about $3.50); movies can be purchased for £4.99 (about $7).
Samsung says it plans to expand the service to include music offerings, as well as to enable notebook computer users and owners of Samsung TV’s to tap into the service.
Whether the world needs another iTunes competitor remains to be seen, but by focusing first on the mobile market rather than PCs, Samsung opens up another front of competition with the likes of Nokia, which offers a bevcy of content services for mobile users.
There’s no word on whether Samsung plans to bring the service to the North American market.