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Buying movies over the Internet is here. In November 2002 Movielink launched as a joint venture by five major Hollywood studios — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. — to distribute movies online in the United States. Over the last several years the company has expanded its library with titles from Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox and leading independent and non-U.S. studios and distributors. Moving beyond its traditional rental model, Movielink recently added a download-to-own service. Movielink CEO Jim Ramo says Intel® Viiv™ technology is an essential part of taking online movie distribution into the mainstream.
Q: What was Movielink created to accomplish?
A: Movielink was launched to do three things: Create a video-ondemand service; use the Internet as a channel of distribution; and help drive digital rights management into the marketplace. We’ve in many ways completed those missions, and now it’s about exploiting what is becoming an obvious demand for video over the Internet.
Q: And what does Intel® Viiv™ technology mean for this whole process?
A: Viiv plays an immensely important role. The piece of the distribution puzzle that still needs to be solved to make Internet delivery of video a mass-market service is that the television has not really been a connected device in the home. Viiv provides the answer, and that’s why we have been working with Intel. We know that with Intel’s release of Viiv, it is intended to work seamlessly with our service. When the television set becomes a connected device, people will be able to sit on a couch and watch a movie that’s delivered over the Internet on a big digital flatscreen TV.
Q: How quickly does the broadband window equal the DVD window for the studios?
A: I think we’re there. Every one of the studios we license from, since we launched download-to-own, has released day-and-date with home video. Generally, every Tuesday we have a release that’s day-and-date with home video retailers.
Q: What are download times like right now?
A: For our average customer, it takes about 70 minutes. We have a feature called Movies in Minutes where you can view the movie while it’s downloading, so one can start watching the movie within a minute or two from the time downloading is started.
Q: What should distributors at events like Cannes be thinking about when it comes to broadband rights?
A: We’ve proven that you can deliver high-quality movies over broadband. I think distributors around the world ought to be looking at Internet distribution as a viable new way to reach consumers.
Q: How does Movielink figure into the battle against piracy?
A: We play a role by fulfilling online demand and trying to create a better product online than a pirated version. For those who want to watch movies over the Internet and are willing to pay a reasonable price, we offer a simple and easy experience, good customer service, a broad selection of titles and, most importantly, digital movies in high quality.