News Corp enters movie download market

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is to make a move into the digital video sector by offering movies and television content via the media conglomerate's network of internet properties.

Hollywood films and popular TV shows from News Corp's Fox Entertainment Group will be offered on a download-to-own basis at such web sites as MySpace, the social networking community with a free video download service, and the video-gaming-orientated IGN Entertainment sites.

The service, which is expected to be available from October, will charge around $19.99 per new movie—including X-Men: The Last Stand and Thank You For Smoking—and about $1.99 for each episode of Fox's television programmes, such as Prison Break and 24.

The movies will be made available to coincide with their DVD release, while the shows will be put on sale within 24 hours of their broadcast.

Some Fox TV episodes are currently offered by Apple, but they are only available for viewing by way of devices produced by the company: Macintosh computers, video iPods and so on.

Fox previously made downloads of the thriller series 24 available, both for free and for sale, at MySpace. The company also sells its films to sites such as Movielink and CinemaNow, but without investing in the digital download services.

The new service from News Corp will allow users to access content using technology from the IGN digital download service Direct2Drive, a web site popular with online gamers, and then transfer it to handheld devices that are compatible with Windows Media.

And Fox is claiming an industry first with its forthcoming service because customers will be able to download a film or episode on to two PCs and from there onto separate portable devices.

Lovelace Consulting  |  14.08.2006

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