LondonNet News Headlines
19/03/01
Get Set for Blockbusters on the Net
- Fears of a 'Movie Napster' prompts Hollywood into action

BLOCKBUSTER films could be finding their way on to the internet before the end of the year.

The films would be downloadable on a pay per view basis at an estimated UKP4 per film, and would be encrypted to prevent anyone copying them. So far, Sony plans to allow people to download films for a set fee and have access to them for a certain time while Disney is aiming to follow suit.

Hollywood bosses fear that if films are not made available on line, they will lose out to a movie equivalent of the music-swapping site Napster. Miramax became the first major film company to make their films available for rent via the Net earlier this year. After being downloaded, the film is saved in the computer's hard drive for 24 hours. But unlike the free for all tactics of Napster, it must be paid for and watched within a day.

Whether or not the availability of films on the Net would affect cinema attendances is questionable, particularly as it currently takes a massive ten hours to download films from the Internet. "I can't see a situation where people suddenly stop going to the cinema," said British Film Council's Ian Thompson. However the development of fast broadband Internet links within the next two years would speed the up process to just 30 minutes.




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