Hollywood Studio’s have started giving away $50 vouchers that allows consumers to view first run movies including Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Up in the Air at home via an Internet enabled TV. The free offer has been introduced in an effort to lure consumers away from pirated material.
It is not known whether the program will be launched in Australia this year after being introduced in the UK, where several Hollywood studios including, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros have teamed up with a local content provider, Blinkbox to run a week-long free streaming service.
Users will be able to stream their choices over the internet and watch them on their computer or a TV.
The film studios are hoping video streaming services will do a similar job to what the music industry did when they offered free music downloads. The program attracted people who may otherwise succumb to unlawful filesharing networks. Many British consumers already use catch-up TV streaming services such as the BBC iPlayer, 4OD and the ITV Player.
Michael Comish, chief executive and co-founder of Blinkbox told the Guardian newspaper, “We are doing it much earlier, By the time the music industry enabled strong and good-quality legal [streaming] services it was arguably too late. We are in the early days of digital retail for movies, and our ambition is to make people aware of the benefits of streaming services before it is too late.”
Research by Global Web Index last year showed that web users were turning to unlawful filesharing sites because the content they wanted was not easily available elsewhere. The survey showed that 45% of filesharers said they would consume films legally if the technology allowed them.
Previously unpublished findings by Trendstream, the UK-based consultancy, show that 28% of those using peer-to-peer filesharing to view unauthorised content do so because it offers instant access. The movie industry hopes that streaming services, which offer similar access, may bring these people back into the fold.