Hollywood Studios Launch Subscription Movie Site: Five top Hollywood studios opened online box office Movielink, in an attempt to protect movies from the rampant online piracy that afflicts the music industry.
Prices will range from around $1.99 for older titles to about $4.95 for recent releases, and the service comes with VCR-like functions such as pause, rewind and fast-forward. Movielink customers have 30 days to watch the films they download, after which the films will disappear from the hard drives. Once someone clicks “play” in the software provided by Movielink, that person has 24 hours to watch the movie. The film cannot be transferred to another device once it is downloaded to a computer.
Even with these and other legal hurdles, the service believes it will ultimately be the way to go: The first reason is that the company’s research shows that movie trailers are the most-watched video material on the Web. The second is the popularity of Internet file-trading software like KaZaA and Morpheus, which people are already using to download unauthorized copies of movies in large number.
Audience: Travelers who download movies onto a laptop computer to watch while on the road or to set up for their kids in the backseats of cars. College students with high-speed Internet connections, too, are expected to be a core, early audience.