Netco has deals with all major studios except Disney
Amazon.com launched its digital videostore Thursday, dubbed Amazon Unbox, with pricing and features similar to those of existing competitors.As expected, Amazon has deals with all the major studios except Disney, as well as with MGM and Lionsgate. Netco was able to get most studios on board since it is paying wholesale rates in line with those of DVDs. (Daily Variety, Sept. 6) Mouse House is expected to be the only studio that’s part of Apple’s iTunes movie downloads when they launch next week. Because Apple is looking to pay less than DVD wholesale rates for digital downloads of new releases, it hasn’t yet reached a deal with other studios. Many industryites had expected Amazon to tie video downloads into its healthy DVD business. But digital sales aren’t currently connected to DVD sales in any way. Web pages to purchase a DVD don’t even feature a link to buy a download. Netco does have a few special features that it is promoting to differentiate itself. It’s boasting that downloads are the same quality as DVDs — slightly better than competitors — and that consumers can purchase on one computer and download on another, allowing them to buy a movie at work and watch it that evening at home. Company said in a release that “most” movies cost between $7.99 and $14.99, but a quick persual of Amazon Unbox revealed that new releases typically cost close to $20, the same as its competitors. TV shows are $1.99, just as on iTunes. Amazon.com is also offering online rentals for $3.99. Amazon does have a few exclusives in the TV arena. It’s the first netco to sell episodes of the original “Star Trek,” the first to offer content from HGTV, Fine Living, and VH1, and the first to offer a number of foreign shows from countires such as the UK, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong.