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Offline DaBees-Knees

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Hollywood battles piracy with free movie streams at home
« on: June 07, 2010, 08:13:58 pm »

Movie fans are being given the chance to watch their choice of blockbusters at home for nothing, as a host of Hollywood studios team up with UK-based technology firm Blinkbox to run a week-long free streaming service in an effort to lure internet users away from pirated material.

As part of the "Full Stream Ahead" campaign, which is backed by the UK Film Council and BFI, and launches tomorrow, anyone accessing the Blinkbox website from will be offered £20 credit to spend on films from studios including Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. Titles include Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Up in the Air.

Users will be able to stream their choices over the internet and watch them on their computer or – if they have the right cables – on their television.

Music streaming services such as Spotify have proved a hit, helping to arrest some of the piracy that has affected that industry. The film studios are hoping video streaming services will do a similar job, attracting people who may otherwise succumb to unlawful filesharing networks. Many British consumers already use catch-up TV streaming services such as the BBC iPlayer, 4OD and the ITV Player.

"We are doing it much earlier," says Michael Comish, chief executive and co-founder of Blinkbox. "By the time the music industry enabled strong and good-quality legal [streaming] services it was arguably too late. We are in the early days of digital retail for movies, and our ambition is to make people aware of the benefits of streaming services before it is too late."

Research by Global Web Index last year showed that web users were turning to unlawful filesharing sites because the content they wanted was not easily available elsewhere. The survey showed that 45% of filesharers said they would consume films legally if the technology allowed them.

Previously unpublished findings by Trendstream, the UK-based consultancy, show that 28% of those using peer-to-peer filesharing to view unauthorised content do so because it offers instant access. The movie industry hopes that streaming services, which offer similar access, may bring these people back into the fold.

Blinkbox, backed by venture capital firms Eden Ventures, Nordic Venture Partners and Arts Alliance, already has more than 1.2 million users a month, who between them watch about 5m streams per month. While it does not stream content in high-definition, Comish, the former head of new media at Channel 4, said picture quality was good on the average residential broadband line - which runs at between 3Mb and 4Mb per second - while anyone with a slower connection can reduce the file size that they are viewing in order to get a reliable service.

"If millions of people take up this offer, yes, it is going to cost us a lot of money," he said. "But the cost of not doing it is far larger. If we do not make people aware that there is good-quality streaming video available, then we will hit a tipping point in online piracy."

No mention is made of the cost per film after your free £20 allowance is spent.  We shall see if this offer is as good as it at first appears :gum:

Offline Trestor

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Re: Hollywood battles piracy with free movie streams at home
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2010, 07:24:12 am »
I hope this would include more than just so-called 'blockbusters'. I have a friend who would dearly love to have complete studio and network catalogs made available for streaming. There are any number of 'made for TV' movies that will never be released onto DVD because the market is too small to justify the expense of manufacture and distribution. She would be willing to pay a modest fee to view them.

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