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Amazon Mulling Download, DVD Combo

27 Jan, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon.com this spring is seeking to launch a movie download service that would allow consumers to apply the download charge toward the purchase of the film's DVD.

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth is reportedly in content discussions with the major studios, including secondary players Image Entertainment, Ardustry Home Entertainment and First Look Entertainment.

Amazon, already a significant force in DVD sellthrough, would differentiate its download service by allowing DVD purchases to be streamed by consumers prior to their arrival in the mail, according to a report in Variety. The service could also subtract the download charge from the packaged media purchase.

Citing a non-disclosure agreement, Ardustry CEO Cheryl Freeman declined comment. An Image representative was not immediately available for comment.

One studio executive, who admitted his company had been contacted by Amazon and other download services, said negotiations have been ongoing long before Google launched its much-publicized movie download service earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

““We've been working with anyone who has an Internet presence, including contractual details for a long time,” said the executive, who declined to be identified. “There are a ton of them out there.”

Amazon executives, in a third-quarter conference call, said the company was putting “a lot energy into” a download service and believed it would “have some good offering to our customers over time.” They declined to address additional specifics.

The company also said its DVD rental service was going “very well in Germany and the U.K.,” but that any foray into the U.S. market was not something “we are prepared to talk about.”

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