About time this happened – the world’s first download to own service has just sprung up (April launch) in the UK – of course. This is the true beginning of the decline of physical media and potentially the high street rental stores. Lovefilm and Universal pictures (who are ready to release its 6500 films into the service) are using robust Microsoft DRM to make available an initial 35 no doubt test films. Reuters with main report here.

When everyone can download the film in real-time and faster (we all know that is where broadband is heading) then why on earth would we need the physical discs (but bizarrely in this service a DVD is mailed to you as well at the same time you get the download access – at the moment). As the item from Adotas also points out you can download two versions of the movie – a large screen and portable screen version – which is a clever strategy as consumers are generally creating a to-go and a stay-at-home version of audio and now video content for their digital lifestyles…

and consumers will be able to download two copies of the film: one to save to their PCÂ’s and a copy to view on portable devices. Consumers will also receive a DVD copy of the film via mail. These downloads will be available the same date that the film is released on DVD. (snip)
Initially 35 Universal films will be available, but eventually all 6,500 movies in the Universal catalogue may be available for downloading.
The service is targeted at 12-18-year-olds who are particularly interested in viewing films on lap tops or other portable devices, and consumers will not be able to email their downloads to anyone else.

Interesting targeting that because I would suspect this is a service aimed at a much broader demographic of early adopter commuters, all those hundreds of thousands of video iPod and mobile video owners and of course those millions of folk who find the walk to the local Blockbuster-oh-they-haven’t-got-what-I-want store – too taxing.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006