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Four Studios Agree to Download-to-Own and Burn on DivX Devices

26 Aug, 2009 By: Chris Tribbey

More than 1,000 films from Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros. and Lionsgate will be the first available for download-to-own and burn on any device that is DivX compatible, with consumers having the option to not only watch the movies, but freely transfer them from consumer electronic devices to DVD, USB drives, SD memory cards and portable hard drives.

The films are being offered on the digital media format DivX, which works on millions of DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, digital HDTVs and gaming consoles, via the online movie site Film Fresh, which offers both downloadable and physical DVD sales options for most films. Older films generally cost $9.99 for a download, while a new release such as Watchmen is $15.99. Previously, Film Fresh focused on international and independent fare.

New release films from the studios will be available day-and-date with DVD and Blu-ray releases, according to Rick Bolton, founder and CEO of Film Fresh.

“Film Fresh is now a one-stop shop for film enthusiasts of all kinds, and we are quite excited about our expansion into premium Hollywood content,” Bolton said, adding that the site has partnered with DivX from its founding. “Download-to-own is going to play a critical role in the future of film distribution.”

Bolton said pricing, depending on whether it’s a new-release or catalog-film, “could be $15 for a new release, compared to $20 for a DVD, or $9.99 for a library film.”

“However, consumers will actually get more for their money with these downloads, as the movies will not be ‘trapped’ on a PC,” he said. “A $15 new release download can be played back as many times as you like, on any of your DivX-certified devices.”

New release titles, such as The Haunting in Connecticut and 17 Again; catalog, such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Reservoir Dogs; and franchises, such as “The Matrix” and “Harry Potter” films, are now available on the site.

“Through our agreements with Film Fresh and the studios, we are able to bring Hollywood movies in the high-quality DivX format to U.S. consumers for the first time,” said DivX CEO Kevin Hell.

“With millions of DivX devices shipped, including DVD players, Blu-ray players, mobile phones, digital televisions and gaming consoles, DivX presents a powerful consumer-focused open solution that is ubiquitous and already in many homes.”

Curt Marvis, president of digital media at Lionsgate, said Fresh Films’ relationship with DivX was what attracted the studios to the arrangement.

“DivX has been working with the studios to get support for their format for years,” he said. “Our position with Lionsgate is to get our content in front of as many consumers as possible. It was time to say ‘yes’ to supporting this format, especially with how many compatible devices there are.”

He added that Lionsgate’s new releases should be released day-and-date on Fresh Films with DVD and Blu-ray. Also, Fresh Films will include more catalog in the coming weeks and months, and the site has an obligation to report sales data back to the studio.

Representatives from consumer electronics companies LG Electronics, Toshiba and Philips praised the announcement, especially since their products carry DivX certification.

“High-quality DivX video playback is a key feature in many Toshiba products, including DVD players and digital TVs, not to mention our newest portable DVD player,” said Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba's Digital A/V Group.

Todd Richardson, SVP of sales and marketing for P&F (the manufacturer and distributor for Philips televisions and home theater in the United States), called the announcement “the next step” in enjoying movies via digital devices.

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