A step in the right direction

Pat Pilcher reports in the Herald:

In what could be a landmark move, US website www.filmfresh.com have joined the fray and are delivering over 600 downloadable big title Hollywood movies. …

Film Fresh’s movie titles are not totally hobbled with digital rights management (DRM) which means they won’t become unwatchable a week after you’ve downloaded them and can be burnt to a DVD or copied to a USB stick.

Perhaps most important of all, delivering a solid range of blockbuster Hollywood movies that are relatively un-crippled by DRM provides a legitimate alternative to infringing downloads.

Absolutely. The biggest blow against illegal downloading is making material available for legal purchase immediately, without DRM, in all countries, for a reasonable price.

This goes some of the way there.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that Fresh Films is only available to folks living in the US and there’s no sign of it arriving here any time soon.

Stupid. That means the only way Kiwis wanting to view the film at home can do so, is to get it from a torrent site.

The other catch for those that can download Fresh Film titles is the price which ranges from US$10 to US$13.

Whilst that isn’t too steep (especially considering that the movie hasn’t been lobotomised by DRM), it is a little steep in that it is comparable to US budget DVD pricing and you don’t get the special features and other goodies usually bundled with a DVD.

I think this is significantly over-priced. In NZ you can go to the movies and see a film for around $10 on a weekday. Now bearing in mind you watching it at home means the studio does not  have to pay for the theatre, the theatre staff, the cost of getting a film reel to them etc etc and my expectation is that a movie should be NZ$5 at most to really get people buying them.

Likewise I think $1 is around the sensible rate for a TV show.

Bad news aside, the move by Fresh Films backers (Paramount, Warner Bros., Lionsgate, and Sony Pictures) to allow semi un-crippled legit movie downloads could signal a softening in the hard-line stance of the major studios, potentially opening the floodgates for other similar local services.

As I said, a step in the right direction.

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