RapidShare nixes plans for movie download store

RapidShare has abandoned plans to launch a download store for movies and TV shows, a company spokesperson told us via email. The Switzerland-based file host service had planed to open a platform called RapidMovies that would sell digital downloads to its customers, and a former CEO once proposed that users looking for illegal copies of Hollywood blockbusters could be redirected to the licensed download offering instead.

RapidShare soft-launched an experimental RapidMovies site at the end of 2009. Back then, the site only offered free-to-view movie trailers, but the launch was nonetheless remarkable because the service was able to win Warner Bros. (s TWX) as a partner. At the time, RapidShare hoped the Hollywood studio would also remain on board for its commercial launch.

However, two years later, it looks like that initial cooperation never went further. RapidShare’s spokesperson told me there are currently no further plans to work on RapidMovies. The company wants to concentrate instead on further developing its core hosting services.

Oddly enough, it looks like RapidShare’s competitor MegaUpload is now trying to fill the gap. Megamedia Limited, the company behind such ventures as MegaUpload and MegaVideo, plans to launch a site dubbed MegaMovies before the end of the year. From its site:

“Megamovie is coming in 2011. It’s our marketplace for Movies and TV series streamed in the highest quality for the lowest price. Megamovie will be available to all content creators and licensees, from Hollywood studios to independent film makers to TV production companies.”

Megamedia didn’t reply to a request for comment, but it looks like this would simply be a self-serve digital video store, meaning anyone could sell access to downloads — and given MegaUpload’s contentious history with rights holders, I’d bet none of the Hollywood heavyweights would come on board.