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Warner Bros. to Try File Sharing in Germany 209

Carl Bialik writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Warner Bros. plans to sell TV shows and movies online in Germany via P2P. In2Movies, to launch in March, 'will feature movies dubbed into German, including "Batman Begins" and "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD. It will also offer television shows like "The O.C." and locally made programs and movies. Users, who will have to register for the service, will be able to keep the movie indefinitely. But instead of getting a movie from a central server, pieces of it could come from other people on the network who also bought that movie.' The president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group says, 'Studios can't just turn their backs and hope "P2P" is going to go away tomorrow.'"
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Warner Bros. to Try File Sharing in Germany

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  • by Fusen ( 841730 ) * on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:13PM (#14598904)
    So why would someone use this service against say The Google Video Store, or iTunes. TFA doesn't mention if the files would be cheaper, but they will still be DRM'ed so by using this service you get the movie like you normally would be you also have to sacrifice your upload.
    I don't understand why anyone would want to sue this over the services that are already out.
    • That was the question I asked myself actually. Why would I want to help WB in the distribution if I'm PAYING them for the movie too? Now if they gave me a free gigabyte of download for every 2 I upload, then I'd consider their service. I guess they think that we like the P2P idea enough that we'll pay regular prices just to use it!?!? Their reasoning here is beyond me.
      • by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <{akaimbatman} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:25PM (#14599061) Homepage Journal
        Why would I want to help WB in the distribution if I'm PAYING them for the movie too?

        Presumably for lower prices. Bandwidth is cheaper than ever, but is still expensive. Especially when you figure in the number of machines necessary to power a large multimedia network. By marginalizing the cost of the download across many machines, WB is (theoretically) obtaining savings that they can pass on to you, the consumer.

        Whether consumers see it that way (or WB passes on the savings!) remains to be seen.
        • by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:37PM (#14599170)
          From TFA: "for a fee that Warner says will be similar to the cost of a DVD"

          It doesn't look like they're planning on passing any of the savings on to the real distributors/consumers, that was my point. And as has been stated repeatedly, if the prices are not going to be reduced I'd rather just buy the DVD and save my bandwidth(upload and download) for things that profit me as an individual. They need to pass on some form of secondary gain here and SIGNIFICANLTY cheaper pricing or free movies in exchange for sharing your bandwidth are the first two that come to mind.

          • by tambo ( 310170 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @03:34PM (#14600598)
            t doesn't look like they're planning on passing any of the savings on to the real distributors/consumers, that was my point.


            I presume that Warner believes they've conditioned consumers into believing that $15-$20 is a fair price for a movie; that would be a good reason to charge the same for an electronic version. However, they're dead wrong in this presumption. Rather, they have conditioned consumers into paying that price for a DVD that contains the movie.

            The physicality of the DVD is important to the consumer: the disc has nice silkscreen imaging; the packaging looks good and protects the disc; it looks great on a shelf; etc. There are practical implications, too: except for a few specific illegalities (bootleg copying, exctracting the content without the copy protection, etc.), the consumer can do what he wants with the disc - view it at a friend's house, sell it, etc.

            In other words, the physicality is a very serious "value-add" for the DVD consumer. Warner can't strip all of that away, sell just the contents of the disc, and expect the same profit. A file on a hard drive is not as appealing as a DVD slipcover in a media stack. And consumers are savvy enough to fear the restrictions that will inevitably accompany this file: it will be locked to a specific computer, no resale value, etc.

            In short: Warner is crazy if it believes that consumers equate a DVD with the bare file contained on the DVD. It's fundamentally mistaking the elements of a DVD that represent worth to the consumer.

            - David Stein

          • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @09:33PM (#14603528) Journal
            You're completely missing the point entirely.

            The movie industry doesn't want this sort of venture to succeed. They're not all stupid and retarded as one poster said. They want this to fail so that they can point and say "see there's no legitimate use for P2P. When we offered a legitimate P2P service people didn't use it. So your honour we should just shut down all the P2P since it's only used by theives!". Of course they won't mention the fact that they'd kept prices high, while forcing the customer to pay twice (once for the movie, once for the bandwidth).

            I mean for pity sake if they wanted to distribute the content to the users in a better way, they could just drop the price on the DVDs and make it possible to back them up instead of wasting money on this little venture. Success is not their goal here!

        • by neoform ( 551705 ) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:46PM (#14599237) Homepage
          And what makes them think this will even work?
          If I was to pay for a download, I'd cap my upload at 1k/sec (on my router even, if i had to) and I'd also kill the sharing as soon as it's done downloading.. why waste my upload speeds if it's going to be costing me something?

          The only reason Torrents work right now is because people upload as much as they download, if everyone were to do like me in this case (which i think they would), this wont work at all.
        • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:52PM (#14599290) Homepage
          did you even read the summary? they will be charging "similar to DVD prices" for something that is of lower quality, lacking the DVD extras and you pay for the bandwidth.

          Yeah, people will jump all over that.

          it simply reinforces the fact that the movie industry is ran by a large number of retarted people that have zero clue about business let alone how to sell a product.

          • and yet since the grandparent of this post gets a 5 for insightful for obviously not reading the summary and you are still at a 1, it appears the lesson is to just say something and pretend to know what you are talking about.
        • Presumably for lower prices. Bandwidth is cheaper than ever, but is still expensive.

          It's not expensive, it's very cheap. Without even shopping around, at serverbeach [serverbeach.com], 2000 GB of hosted bandwidth starts at $119. Figure 2GB per movie, that's 12 cents per movie. Inconsequential compared to what they will charge.

          I think, rather, this is simply an attempt by the studios to "get into" P2P - in other words, to use the buzzword even if it doesn't make a lot of sense from a technical standpoint.

      • Among other things, you might get a faster download.

        Basically, what you should do is analyze the cost to you, with this use of your bandwidth as part of the cost. If they sell DRMed digital files for the same cost as a DVD, there's not much point getting it. If they sell for much cheaper (or more flexibly, such as ITMS selling recent, individual episodes), then it's a lot more interesting.

      • I'd do it. As long as the movie isn't DRM crippled, I'd pay to P2P it for several reasons.

        First, I don't want the DRM. I'm willing to give up "something" of mine in exchange for a freely usable movie. For example, I'd pay a premium for unprotected DVDs. Ripping is a total hassle, and a big waste of my time. If the extra cost to me is a blank DVD (or a bit of hard drive space) fine.

        Second, I don't care about my outgoing bandwidth all the time, just when I'm trying to use it. I'll typically leave Az

        • Yes, I use p2p also. No, I don't download (much) unlicensed material. Out of the 5-600 gigs of media that I have, I would say that less than 1% is unlicensed. And, yes, I leave my bittorent open until I have at least a 1:1 ratio of up to down.

          What the media goons cannot realize is that times have changed. We simply do not need "media" any more. Broadcast over the air and even pay services like cable and satellite still seem to be viable markets. My cable, internet, and phone bill comes to $157 a month
    • In Germany, most people have a highly asymmetric connection. DSL (which is by far the most popular version of broadband) usually comes with bandwiths like
      -1000kBit/s down and 128 kBit/s up
      -2000kBit/s down and 192 kBit/s up
      -6000kBit/s down and 576 kBit/s up
      There are offers with higher upstream bandwidth, but those tend to be more expensive.

      So distribution per P2P will usually be hampered by the lack of upstream bandwith. Why should a paying customer accept that (and have his own upstream blocked for hou
    • So why would someone use this service against say The Google Video Store, or iTunes.

      They might have better prices, they might have material not available through other commercial channels, they might have more timely releases, etc. In other words, for all the same reasons that people buy from one store instead of another.

      There are people who are perfectly willing to pay for licensed entertainment, and having multiple options of where and how to get it is a Good Thing.

      • On a related note, google video isn't officially available in Germany yet (at least when I checked last week).

        I know this offer is lame, but compared to the US we're used to less choice and higher prices, so it's not a bad idea to pull this stunt in Germany. If anyone thinks that this is not true just visit amazon.de and .com and compare the prize/availability of some CDs and DVDs.
        Since I've given up buying DVDs in stores (another issue, but I'll spare you a rant), I basically have the choice between goi
    • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:43PM (#14599223) Homepage Journal
      Speed of download. Especially if they had a few distributed servers in the mix run by WB, your download would be significantly faster than say, buying Quicktime copies of BattleStar Galactica through iTunes.
    • Today's VOD services in Germany are pretty bad. Their libraries are small and the movies are released many months after the DVD release.
      Movielink and Google don't sell to german customers (geolocation of your IP AND credit card address). The german iTunes store sells only music videos, no TV shows. And CinemaNow only sells some independent movies and older shows, but no content by the majors.

      In other words, everything will be better than the current offerings.
    • I don't know.

      Meanwhile, has it occurred to anyone that studios (music and movie) are generally attempting to impose their original price points on a low-cost distribution medium?

      What I mean is, what right do they have to try and charge DVD prices when, if we want to write these to DVD, we'd need to purchase our own media?

      They're essentially asking us to pay for our peers' bandwidth. That's annoying. Not illegal mind you, just another transparent attempt to squeeze money out from where it's undeserved.


  • Trial balloon? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:16PM (#14598934) Homepage Journal
    Finally, some sense in the P2P/RIAA/MPAA wars!

    If this works well for Warner, I am willing to bet they will extend this program to the rest of the world, pronto. At least, I hope so.
    • Sense? You pay full price for the movie and pay for its distribution. Gee golly! Where do I sign up for that?
      • Re:Trial balloon? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eta526 ( 833281 )
        Don't forget the whole not having media thing. If I'm paying as much as for a DVD, why would I not want to have the actual disc that I could carry to a friend's house, or wherever?
      • Re:Trial balloon? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @01:08PM (#14599432) Homepage
        The problem is, is that they are very afraid to undercut their own retailers. If they significantly undercut the DVDs, and people actually start buying a significant amount of stuff online, many retailers won't see it as worth their time to continue to even stock the DVDs. They have to keep the retailers happy. If you don't then they will revolt. It's the same reason why buying a computer direct from HP costs the same amount as buying it from the retailer, even though there should be no distribution markup.
    • by TCQuad ( 537187 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:25PM (#14599058)
      Finally, some sense in the P2P/RIAA/MPAA wars!

      They get your money to buy the content and then they don't have to pay for the bandwidth to get it to you? How could they not try it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:16PM (#14598939)
    So, for about the same price as a DVD, you get a DRM locked copy of the file and you get to pay a good chunk of their distribution costs. What a great deal!
    • by a_karbon_devel_005 ( 733886 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:21PM (#14599006)

      The execs think "peer to peer" is a buzzword they need on their products but people, NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

      I applaud efforts to make media online easily for all who want it, that's how people want to get content. But P2P in this case isn't doing anything but showing up in headlines and making executives think they're creating "hip" products.
      • The execs think "peer to peer" is a buzzword they need on their products but people, NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

        Actually I dont think everyone wants or expects it for free, just at a reasonable price. Charging the same as a DVD for this is a sure way for them to kill it off and say "well, we tried but no one bought anything!".

        If they were serious about this they would be charging DVD RENTAL pri
      • NORMAL people, aren't interested in the "peer to peer" part of P2P they're interested in the "free stuff I don't have to pay for" part of P2P.

        I don't necessarily agree. I think iTunes shows that people are willing to pay (for a reasonable price), but that they want the convenience of electronic distribution. The producers sort of get this, but they don't modify their business model to match. It just doesn't seem to occur to them that an electronic copy doesn't have as much intrinsic value as a physical repr
        • I think iTunes shows that people are willing to pay (for a reasonable price), but that they want the convenience of electronic distribution.

          Yes, but grandparent is saying that the "peer-to-peer" part of P2P is the least important or wanted for people, not that they don't want electronic distribution.

          I'd guess the hierarchy of desirability for methods of electronic distribution would go something like this:

          1) Free, dedicated (eg. download-only)
          2) Free, shared (eg. peer-to-peer - have to upload as well)
          3) Pay
        • I think you're missing the GP's point. He's not saying that normal people would prefer not to pay for stuff, he's saying that they couldn't care less about the underlying technology. Thus the peer to peer nature of p2p is irrelevant to them; they just care about what it enables them to do. Likewise, the fact that ITMS is essentially just a bog-standard web app with a fancy thick client is irrelevant, they just care that it lets them get music onto their iPod.
        • I don't necessarily agree. I think iTunes shows that people are willing to pay (for a reasonable price), but that they want the convenience of electronic distribution.

          Sure but again, what does this have to do with P2P? That's entirely my point. P2P is popular because it's free stuff, iTunes is popular because it's a convenient way to get legal stuff. iTunes is not P2P because there's no point.
      • Interestingly for some of us P2P nutters we find this method of getting movies easier and less painful.

        I don't have to get up go out and buy the movie, I just read a review and click a link.

        If they allow users to burn a copy to DVD this will improve the lives of the majority of their clients...
    • But, you see, they know that you will steal it, and share the movie with five other people. Thus, they not only expect you to do their distribution, but they also expect you to do their reselling. From their perspective, you're buying an implicit license to make five copies, so really, they're giving you a price which is 1/5th the price of a DVD. By sharing it with your friends, you gain back the 4/5ths of the price in goodwill accruing to you.

  • by TheRappingShoe ( 950074 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:17PM (#14598952)
    It will be interesting to see what kind of formats will be used, exactly how much they charge, and how much DRM they cram into the thing. If they do charge the same cost for downloading a film as the DVD version then where is the incentive to download? Surely the price should be lower to reflect the savings in materials and distribution costs.
    • Yeah, it really depends on the details. DRM could mean it has a Watermark, but no other restrictions. That could potentially cause problems for people exercising the right to a "Private Copy" (that includes copies for friends made from an original) German consumers have, but it would be acceptable, IMHO, if there was a mechanism to ensure protection against physical theft of my storage media of choice (consumer friendly, i.e. not a crypto FS).
      If DRM means there is no way to tell if I still will be able to
  • More DRM... great (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chris098 ( 536090 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:17PM (#14598962) Homepage
    Although it's good that the movie industry isn't completely blind, I think they're going about this the wrong way. It's definitely a good thing that customers will be able to keep their purchases forever (instead of some 'limited time' offer), but I still have trouble seeing the value for customers in a P2P environment where they have to pay the same price as a DVD.

    The article mentions the videos will have security features added to them so they can't be copied. Without more details, it's impossible to say how much of a hassle this will be. What if I have two computers and want to watch the video on the other one? The article is a bit weak on the details...
    • What if I have two computers and want to watch the video on the other one? The article is a bit weak on the details...

      ...and what about those of us who don't want to watch movies on our computers? I don't mind watching a short movie that way, but when you're talking about feature films, I want to burn the damn thing, put it in my DVD player, lie back on the sofa and relax.

  • At last (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danidude ( 672839 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:18PM (#14598978) Homepage
    ...big corps start to realize that the old bussiness model is dead, and begin to use the new model at their advantage, instead of fighting the tide.
    • Re:At last (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AeroIllini ( 726211 ) <aeroillini&gmail,com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @02:08PM (#14599914)
      ...big corps start to realize that the old bussiness model is dead, and begin to use the new model at their advantage, instead of fighting the tide.

      Nope. They're not beginning to use a new model at all. At most, they are trying to apply their current (old) business model to a new medium. At the very least, they are going to try this "intarweb distribution" thingie and do it so poorly that they can then say, "but we TRIED selling this stuff online, and no one bought it! They're all filthy pirates!"

      The old business model is: "We create content. You pay for this content, but you only get to watch it when, where, and how we say so, because of our precious IP. Oh, and we're greedy bastards and have no concept of supply and demand, so our prices are unfairly high and we blame the internet on low sales, not taking the quality of our product into account."

      Their new model is: "We create content. You pay for this content online at the same inflated prices as physical media, except that we don't have to pay for printing any physical media, and this is a peer-to-peer system which means the customers are paying for bandwidth costs as well! We don't allow them to alter or burn this content in any way because of the restrictive DRM we place on it. Basically, you only get to watch it when, where, and how we say so, because of our precious IP. Oh, and we're greedy bastards and will blame the failure of this system on the filthy pirates and not on the inherent flaws."

      How is this new or innovative, again?
  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:19PM (#14598983)
    ...but you get nothing? If there's any sort of limit on how many copies you can make, you'd best hope your computer never dies.

    So let's see.... None of the usual DVD extras? One language? No hard copy? SAME PRICE?

    Wow that's a bunch of ass.
    • So let's see.... None of the usual DVD extras? One language? No hard copy? SAME PRICE?

      Yeah, at least some Germans don't like to watch dubbed movies, and prefer to see them in English with German subtitles. (Like Americans with Anime) Of course hojillions of movies are dubbed every year, of which likely most are watched as dubbed.
      • Exactly, except i can go without the subtitles. You know why I do not go to the cinema anymore? I can't stand the german dubbed crap. Horrible, just horrible, in most cases. Since the availability of multi-language DVDs and undubbed versions from... well, you know from where, I can't be arsed to put up with crappy dubs any more. They can take their german dubbed, crippled, overprized crap and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I do not care.
        • I can't stand the german dubbed crap. Horrible, just horrible, in most cases.

          I would take this opinion likely more if I wasn't still learning the finer details of German. For me it's more desirable to listen to a horrible dubbing job and get at least a moderate amount of German study out of it, than to listen to the English with or without subtitles... after all, I speak English natively.
  • What?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by lbmouse ( 473316 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:20PM (#14599002) Homepage
    No Bay Watch or Hasselhoff music videos??
  • ...A trial involving a Hollywood major and file sharing?
    Oh wait...
  • Country dependent (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tethys_was_taken ( 813654 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:21PM (#14599010) Homepage
    This may work in EU countries where most broadband users have uncapped links, but in countries like Australia (or India, but there are bigger problems in that case), where most connections have usage caps, this is not going to work. People are going to refuse to pay for the content and then pay for the data transfer.

    That said, it's a nice change to see some positive developments as far as the ??AA and the internet go, and a very welcome change from banning all innovation, as they tried recently...
    • I'm sure that the studios would consider this to be a positive development.

      Paying DVD retail prices for a DRM'ed movie that is distributed by P2P is not a positive development for consumers.

      Paying 1 or 2 US dollars for a DRM'ed movie distributed by P2P would be a positive development.
  • by Saint37 ( 932002 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:22PM (#14599016)
    If you're going to charge me the same price for a download as you are for a DVD and you're gonna strap DRM on it to boot, I might as well buy the DVD and rip it. I now have a hard and DRM freee soft copy all for the same price.

    http://www.commodore69.com/ [commodore69.com]
  • Flashback (Score:5, Funny)

    by SetupWeasel ( 54062 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:22PM (#14599024) Homepage
    This reminds me of grade school, where an adult against tooth decay or something would try to "speak our language."

    Flossing is stupid ill! 23 Skidoo!

    • This reminds me of grade school, where an adult against tooth decay or something would try to "speak our language."

      Flossing is stupid ill! 23 Skidoo!

      Was he wearing an onion on his belt?

  • by xirtam_work ( 560625 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:23PM (#14599027)
    Are these companies stupid? Do they think we're stupid? Why ask us to pay the same price, or similar to a store purchased DVD when there's no manufacturing, packaging or physical distribution to pay for? If anything an electronic copy of a movie or song should cost less to the consumer - much less.

    I can understand people paying a similar amount for a 'premium item' like a just aired TV show or something that is similar to pay-per-view like a sports game. But, expecting people to pay full price for something that comes without the same quality of packaging as a movie that can be bought in a store is rediculous.

    And to top it off they're using a Bittorrent style system where their customers are the ones paying for the bandwidth! If I upload your show to another customer for you it comes out of my quota of data from my ISP for the month and costs you nothing! What's in it for me huh?

    These outfits really need to figure out that an electronic product should be *LESS* not that same price or more!

    Don't forget these movies are likely to be compressed to a lower quality than a regular DVD as well.
    • The actual production and distribution costs of a DVD are negligable. You can buy DVDs of movies that have gone into the public domain at dollar stores...

      As you say, the quality is likely to be lower than a DVD for any sensible file sizes, and that by itself should reduce the charge.

      On the other hand, this is a test market. If it doesn't sell well at full DVD cost they'll change things.
      • On the other hand, this is a test market. If it doesn't sell well at full DVD cost they'll change things.

        Yeah, they'll say "The market doesn't accept electronic film distribution", blame the 'pirates' and shut the whole thing down. Then, they'll unleash DRM hell.

        Yes, I'm paranoid, so what?! ;-)

        • Yeah, they'll say "The market doesn't accept electronic film distribution", blame the 'pirates' and shut the whole thing down. Then, they'll unleash DRM hell.

          Yes, it could be set up to fail... that's certainly one possibility. It's not, however, the only one. That's all I'm saying.
      • I know that the cost of production is low when they make millions of each item, but that all adds up. Also, if they make millions of a DVD that's a dud then they're lumbered with them and have to dispose of them. They're eliminating risk, which should have a cost value attached. Also, if a DVD is unexpectidly very popular they sell out of them and have to have more copies rushed to the stores at a higher duplication cost to avoid waiting in a queue. Also, they reduce warehouse costs, fuel for distribution a
        • Again, how much it costs doesn't matter. The market doesn't work that way... it's not the costs that determine price, it's what people are willing to pay... if that wasn't the case Windows would sell for ten bucks.

          If you're introducing a new product, you don't know what peole are willing to pay, yet, so you have to guess. If you don't actually need to make a profit or grab market share any time soon, you can start off high because it's safer to have low initial sales than to set low expectations.

          In the long
  • Good idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:23PM (#14599029)
    Shame about the price?

    For the cost of a DVD, I'm going to want a DVD. For a file that I could lose in a hard drive crash or through an accidental erasure etc, and that's potentially going to take me a couple of days to download (even if it maxes out my 2Mbps connection) and tie up my connection (if it maxes it out), I'm going to want to spend quite a bit less. That's ignoring the fact that my house can (currently) comfortably store many more DVDs than my hard drive, and somehow I don't see it being quite as simple as just burning it to disc.

    Still, that said, this is definitely a step in the right direction.
  • In2Movies will use Arvato's new platform, called GNAB to deliver movies. GNAB adds security features onto the movies so they can't be pirated, makes sure the movie owners get paid each time a consumer on In2Movies buys a movie, and routes the movies through computers owned by In2Movies' users.

    According to this article, GNAB [p2pnet.net] is not really P2P. Any wagers as to how long it will be until GNAB is cracked?
  • All the comments about massive profit margins aside, what's the video format?
  • Same price as a DVD, no physical media and you have to hand over a piece of your upload quota?
    Oh yeah, great idea. Will definitely be a roaring succes.
  • by PFI_Optix ( 936301 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:28PM (#14599080) Journal
    It seems the television networks and movie studios are learning from the record labels what not to do. A lot of networks are jumping on board with Google and iTunes, and now Warner is looking at embracing digital distribution before movie sharing becomes as commonplace as music sharing has been for the past seven years.

    What I'm most excited about is Firefly Season 2. From the buzz I've been hearing, they intend on doing something really revolutionary with it: it's going to be a subscription-based show not available on any networks. If the Browncoats can fully support a show the caliber of FireFly, that's going to force the network execs to sit up and take notice.

  • by sane? ( 179855 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:32PM (#14599114)
    Same price as a DVD, using somebody else's bandwidth. Unless these are released before the DVD is then there is no reason to choose this option. Maybe that's the point.

    Since I can rent a DVD by mail for 1 unit of currency it difficult to see anything else other than an attempt to say "see tried it, didn't work". The price needs to be around half that of a retail DVD, at most.

    Oh, and no intrusive DRM either.

    On a related point, has anyone noticed how movie and TV are coming together into a true competitive marketplace? The gap is much smaller than it used to be.

  • by spyrochaete ( 707033 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:32PM (#14599118) Homepage Journal
    This sucks. I read about something like this on /. previously. People fork over their bandwidth, yet they pay fall fare for content. A movie costs the same for a guy with OC12 as it does for a guy on a 9600 baud courier modem. A pricing scheme that rewards fast uploads would be a fantastic way to improve the strength of the internet - everyone would pay more for fast uprate to save money!

    Malicious note - here's a chance for movie pirates to use the same guerilla tactics as the industry - poisoning commercial P2P seeds! Inject that 1 frame of shlong and make Tyler Durden proud!
  • Press Release:11-17-2005


    Peer Impact becomes the first legitimate Peer to Peer to offer Video On Demand

    Englewood Cliffs, NJ and Saratoga Springs, NY -November 17, 2005 - NBC Universal and Wurld Media, the creator of the legitimate Peer to Peer (P2P) service Peer Impact, today announced an agreement that will make Universal movies and NBC Universal TV events content available to Peer Impact customers on
  • I couldn't find it in the article, but it seems that they are just offering the movie, no extras. One of the big things about DVDs in general, especially those "extended editions" or what have you, are the extras that come along with them.

    Charging the same for the movie itself at what is most likely a lower quality and in a locked format won't make anyone use the service over buying a DVD (or continuing to download them for free.) However, it is a step in the right direction, probably spurred by iTunes' vid
  • Zero Common Sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tweekster ( 949766 )
    So basically I have to pay the same price as a DVD for less features AND I have to do the work...

    now will it be true P2P (ie will I be helping to spread the file, which probably wouldnt work because of DRM)

    basically, they are going to overcharge people for a DRM packed file that isnt as useful as a standard DVD then be shocked when it doesnt work...
    thats my prediction.
  • by Gyorg_Lavode ( 520114 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:37PM (#14599164)
    This is a good idea. Certainly one I would be interested in. But come on. The cost of a DVD for something I download? Also I didn't see anything in the article about burning which would be very important to me. Similarly are they making the video playable in any way other than their software? Everything stored on my computer but played through my TV is done using xbox media center for me. And I don't mine sharing some. Maybe 2x or 3x my download. But I certainly am not going to leave it on indefinately and let them suck up my bandwidth. I have a 90k uplink. I become everyone's best friend when I turn on bittorrent.

    But over all I am happy to see them stepping forward. Most of the above problems, (pricing, amount to upload, burning), would take a little redirection at the corporate level and could be implimented quickly.

    We really need a universal streaming format acceptable by DRM standards but open to client implimentations. Something like NTSC over IP. The server can be closed but the client should be universal so that I can get it built into my xbox media center or my windows media extender, etc. I would think that recording this would be no more of a threat than recording to a vhs tape or rca in connection.

  • Digital distribution - well done.

    Same price as a DVD? Wake up. Why should I pay the same for something more restricted?

    Do content producers think they can do the same thing they did with CD and DVD, and just keep/raise prices with formats? You've got to add something to earn a premium.

  • by brain1 ( 699194 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:39PM (#14599188)
    Somehow what seems missed here is the cost of keeping my PC alive 24/7 just to give free bandwidth with no payback. If I have to buy the movie, put up with it's DRM, and give the person who charged me (at no discount) free server space, no deal! If I buy the DVD, I have the physical copy, can play it on anything I own, thanks to many who are equally sick of the abuse of the fair use act. I dont wear out harddrives, cook the CPU, and run up my electric bill with the 600W power supply. Plus the only way I would run a P2P server is if I can run it under Linux where I have *real* control of what is exposed to the wire.

    Besides, unless you have a OC-3 fiber cabinet installed in your hall closet, it will take an eternity to download top-quality video via typical ADSL. Forget it if you only have a modem.

    Oops, I forgot. We, in the US, have an inferior system of obsolete TELCO's who grudgingly gave us DSL just to protect their obsolete switches from meltdown due to all the modems.

  • what if... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MooseTick ( 895855 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:41PM (#14599204) Homepage
    Everyone is complaining about the fact that it will be "similar to the cost of a DVD." What if it will be 1/2 the cost of a DVD. Would you want to use it then. Would that make it worth the hassle of downloaded, potentially using up dl quotas, DRM, etc?

    When you can illegally download nearly anything for free or goto Blockbusters and rent whatever for $5, what would you pay to be able to legally download content using P2P that will be DRMed?
    • Re:what if... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by RingDev ( 879105 )
      Matters on half of what. Getting a $22 movie for $11, that's not half bad, but worth leaving your PC on all month? Nah. I can goto a local Block Buster and rent new releases for $1.50. I can open Video On Demand (Charter) and get videos instantly for $4-6. Sure VoD costs more, but I don't have to dirve anywheres, return anything, and it's instant.

      The BEST way to get this to work would be to replace NetFlix. $15 a month to have access to their private P2P network. As long as you pay your monthly fee your P2P
    • If it is distributed by p2p and DRM'd, I would not pay more than $2 for a feature length movie or $1 for a short subject.
    • If it's DRM'ed I can be short: I will not buy it. It will not play on my Linux system anyway, and most likely not on any of my other video display devices either. What I'd be willing to pay for a non-DRM'ed movie would depend greatly on the download quality. If it's the same quality, then probably half of the DVD price, provided I get all the DVD content. I do think they should make the price depend on how much you upload; that way people are actually encouraged to upload more.
  • The reason people prefer P2P than buying DVD's (or CD's for music) is the friggin' overinflated prices imposed on them!

    The **AA isn't willing to let go of their precious dollars. And so, they pretend to modernize themselves by offering downloads, but they don't modernize what REALLY keeps them in the jurassic age. The prices.
  • Well, at least the movies are dubbed. This is a good thing.
    Why doesn't music get dubbed as well??
    (yes, being ironic...)
  • Why "P2P"??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:46PM (#14599240) Journal
    Can't they afford to pay for the fucking bandwidth? A few gigs of data download should'nt cost more than a cent or two. Compared to what they plan to charge for the movie, it's nothing.
  • by Yonder Way ( 603108 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @12:56PM (#14599328)
    It's nice to see them trying to meet their customers halfway but really I think a few things have to happen:

    1) Eliminate DRM.
    2) Price the movies so cheaply that there isn't much point in stealing it. If a song is worth $1, and a TV show is worth $2, a movie shouldn't be worth more than $4 or $5 (US dollars). Make the "special features" a free optional download for people who have purchased the movie (a lot of people, myself included, will usually opt to just download the movie). Note that this could almost completely assume all of the $$$ that rental outfits are making from movies, allowing the studios to pocket profits from the vast majority of people who will just view the movie once and then discard it.
    3) Work with the major PVR platforms to make it easier to buy an unencumbered $4 or $5 movie right from the menu than it is to download a pirate torrent and import it into the PVR. Don't just partner with one major commercial interest, get in bed with the OSS platforms also. Billions of dollars are at stake so spending a couple of million to have your product supported on the majority of popular PVR platforms is buying free money.
  • So can I burn it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @01:06PM (#14599418) Homepage
    ...like you can burn CDs with iTMS.

    Available online, no need to get to a store. But if getting to a store is that hard, do they have proper broadband out there in the wilds?
    Possibility for instant start (downloading as you go). Much more difficult with torrent-like systems because you need them in order. Can they provide that kind of sustained speeds to most consumers anyway?

    For a DVD, you can often get it as quickly by retail stores, online sites if you don't have good broadband
    You know where you can get it cheaper...
    You don't get any of the packaging. Do we even get the DVD extras?
    Can you take a back-up?
    Can you play it on a regular DVD player?
    Can you move it to other machines like you can with a DVD disc?
    They want to use your upload bandwidth

    Basicly, no burning is a total and complete dealbreaker for me. And I know we can't burn CSS DVDs (consumer burners can't), and we won't be allowed to burn non-CSS DVDs. And if your HDD dies? Either you must a) download countless gigabytes AGAIN, or you must burn back-ups (maybe with some activation scheme). But then there's really no advantage over regular DVDs anyway, except now you need to make your own hardcopy. There's a big difference between having a HTPC and being forced to absolutely, for all future have to use one. Bought a DVD player to have in your cabin/car (great way to make kids STFU)/son's/daughter's room? Sorry.
  • It's a good start (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @01:09PM (#14599447) Homepage Journal
    It is a good start but it won't really take off until they revise their idea of how it is supposed to work and how much it should cost to the end user. Downloading a DVD for a price of a real DVD doesn't make sense, because if you want to play it in a DVD player now you have to buy an expensive blank and spend time burning the thing.

    It would make some sense if they at least mailed you the real DVD after you buy the right to download a copy. But that is what I would do and I think I can come up with some innovative ideas time to time.
  • If online companies offered their shows with or preferably without commercials for download, like OnDemand in Cable, it'd work if their pricepoint is set well. You can see movies and television seasons for free from the library nowadays too.
  • If these aren't drastically compressed in some fashion you are looking at a couple gigs of data per movie. Downloading a file that is 5+ gigs over a P2P application... If you are really hell bent on staying home you could probably order the actual DVD from a website and it show up before your download finished AND still be able to surf the web while you wait instead of having your link crushed under all the other people trying to download 5G worth of data from your computer.
  • On Pricing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday January 30, 2006 @01:44PM (#14599730) Journal
    I am a Rogers Broadband customer. Rogers has, in the last year, set a data cap for my digital data service. Specifically, Rogers gives me 60GB per month, upload and download combined. I pay $40CDN per month for the service.

    Now I finally have a way to compute the value of such things as this Warner P2P offering.

    We need a little bit more data, though. Specifically, how big is a DVD quality movie? Between 600MB and 1.4GB for an MPEG encoded video of sufficient quality to (subjectively) look good on my big TV. 600MB for an animation, 1.4GB for a feature movie. Lets "split the difference" and call it 1GB.

    Which means I can download 60 movies per month for $40. Each movie will cost me 67 cents to download.

    But the P2P (Peer to Peer) model only works if I upload the material as well. To one (or more) clients. Note that my cap applies to uploads as well. I am going to assume a 1:1 ratio for down to uploads - which means my data pipe price is doubled. Specifically, to $1.33 per movie.

    There is also a cost associated with having material on the hard disk for servicing uploads. I know the cost of on-line storage. My average price is now $2 per gigabyte (for my drives in service), and I replace drives every 2 years. Which means $1 per movie per year. If I assume data retension for a year (got to fill this in with something. and there has to be client retension to make P2P work!), this adds a buck, bringing my cost to $2.33.

    Would I spend $2.33 to download a movie? Rental at BlockBuster average $3.50 (ish) per movie. One buck more. Which is then what the content is worth to me. Without DRM, unlimited personal use: the price of the DVD minus the above costs, minus a factor related to the time it takes to actually download/upload (because my Internet connection is tied up... and its a nuisance). I figure a MINIMUM of 5 bucks.

    So, "Unencumbered DVD quality downloads using our P2P, at 30% under store DVD price" is the beginning of the play for me.

  • Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Monday January 30, 2006 @01:53PM (#14599796) Homepage
    Here's an idea. You pay a few bucks to watch the locked copy. You know..$1-5. Then if you want to buy it, you can have them send you the DVD just like you'd buy in the store, less the price of the download. Like if you paid $4 and the DVD is $20, you pay $16 and the DVD gets sent to you.

    With discounts for those that are 'seeders' like free downloads and 25% off DVDs or something.
  • If I pay as much as I do for a DVD, I expect to get a tangible object.

    Call me again when I get unlimited on-demand viewing of Warner movies for maybe $10/month (I'm willing to pay around $40/month for unlimited on-demand viewing of all studios).
  • Out with the Old? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ClamIAm ( 926466 )
    All "media" is inherently prone to unauthorized copying. Part of this is human nature. We learn how to walk, talk, and act by repeating everything we hear and see. We remember quotes and songs and want to share them with friends. We also like to gain things for less work or resources whenever possible. Such is the case with copied media that's mass distributed. As soon as machines or techniques the average person can use become available, the genie's out of the bottle. And you can't stuff him back in

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly