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Lionsgate, Apple to Offer Digital Movie Files

10 Mar, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Lionsgate said it is working with Apple Inc. to begin including a digital file with new DVD releases for the iTunes Store.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based mini-major May 27 will include a digital copy with the special edition DVD and Blu-ray releases of Rambo. It will do the same with Jessica Alba thriller The Eye later this summer.

Lionsgate currently offers digital editions of 3:10 to Yuma (view trailer), Good Luck Chuck (view trailer), War, Showtime series “Weeds,” and catalog titles Dirty Dancing and Reservoir Dogs in iTunes.

The digital files can be viewed on a PC, Mac, iPod video, iPhone or via Apple TV. They can only be transferred to one iTunes account.

Lionsgate joins studios Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in testing the concept of including a digital copy with packaged media.

With an extensive DVD catalog exceeding 12,000 titles, Lionsgate has aggressively sought alternative distribution channels to mine incremental revenue opportunities, including cable and Internet video-on-demand (VOD) and now iTunes.

“A digital copy is a perfect example how packaged media and new digital technology can work hand in hand for the benefit of our customers,” said Steve Beeks, president and co-COO at Lionsgate.

The announcement coincided with recent reports that suggested electronic sellthrough of movies is a tough sell, even with the Apple name.

A survey conducted by The Diffusion Group of nearly 2,000 broadband users found that fewer than 10% regularly downloaded movies from the Internet to their PC.

A separate report found that Apple's nascent iTunes movies rental service was short 60% of the 1,000 titles it promised by the end of February.

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