Now, Scott Kirsner is reporting that CinemaNow is immediately offering burnable DVD versions of 100 older movies such as Scent of a Woman, Barbershop and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. The L.A. Times (registration required) says that
Studio executives hope that as more titles become available online, Internet services will emerge as a way for movie fans to buy niche or older films that can be difficult to find at mass-market retailers. Some retailers that sell on the Web are considering starting their own online movie services.Prices will be between $9 and $15.
While things seem to be speeding up, The Hollywood Reporter says that the studios are afraid of cannibalizing existing DVD income streams like Wal-Mart. The big box retailers together account for 60% of North American sales. Hollywood doesn't want to do anything to damage that income until they're sure that downloading will compensate for any big box losses, which is why that CinemaNow is being given older films. Those won't damage sales on the new releases at Wal-Mart.
On another front, Classic Media has hired Andrew Perlman as VP of digital media. His job is to make Classic Media's properties, which include Casper, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Mr. Magoo, Underdog, Roger Ramjet, Little Lulu and Veggie Tales, available for cell phones and online.
I don't think that this is going to kill the DVD market. Downloading probably won't include extras and once DVD's go to a hi-def format, downloading and burning will take longer, assuming that the consumer has the ability to burn hi-def DVD's.
However, this is another potential market for any independent filmmaker and, as I said earlier, a way to sell films without the expense of manufacturing and distributing DVD's. Just put your trailer on YouTube, Google and Yahoo with a final title card directing people to the website where they can buy the complete burnable download.