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Disney Joins Download-to-Own Club

31 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The Walt Disney Co. has belatedly joined the movie-download bandwagon by offering download-to-own editions of major releases and catalog the same day as their DVD release.

Beginning June 6, consumers at CinemaNow can download for $19.95 each digital files of the college basketball biopic Glory Road and the animated Chicken Little, playable on a Windows Media enabled PC or other media device.

Other upcoming titles for download include Eight Below June 20 and Annapolis June 27.

Disney reportedly would make available up to 30 films, including 2005's Flightplan with Jodie Foster and the 1999 tobacco industry drama The Insider with Russell Crowe and Al Pacino, through its Buena Vista Home Entertainment unit.

Consumers can also burn a DVD copy of the movie that can only be played on a PC. The disc cannot be played on a standard DVD player.

“We are pleased about this broadband distribution opportunity which allows Buena Vista Home Entertainment to provide viewers with more flexibility in viewing their favorite new releases and catalog movies on this emerging distribution platform,” said Pat Fitzgerald, EVP of distribution and trade marketing at BVHE.

CinemaNow — founded in 1999 by Lionsgate, Blockbuster, and Microsoft, among other investors — in April launched a download-to-own service the day after Movielink — a joint venture of MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. — announced its own service.

Last month, CinemaNow became the first service to offer download-to-own adult movies from Vivid Entertainment that can be played on a standard DVD player.

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