Amazon, Microsoft Go To The Movies

    July 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Independent filmmakers got a leg up today as Amazon and Microsoft set off a joint venture called the 1,000 HD DVD Indies Project, designed to make it easier to produce and distribute movies in the HD DVD format.

The co-sponsorship gives up to 1,000 indie producers free authoring and setup services and access to CustomFlix, Amazon’s manufacturing-on-demand platform, which produces and ships DVDs as they are ordered.

“Programs like this one from Amazon lower barriers to entry for independent artists and provide audiences with increased access to high-quality, high-definition content,” said Christian Vesper, senior vice president of programming, acquisitions and scheduling for Sundance Channel.

While it’s a great deal for indie filmmakers, the offering is not totally altruistic. Amazon will sell copies of the movies on its site, while Microsoft further promotes the HD DVD format, a Toshiba-produced format the company has used for its Xbox 360 consoles.

Sony’s Blu-Ray technology has been gaining ground, and the two formats are set for a war reminiscent of Betamax vs. VHS.

The Sundance Channel is getting a cut of the action too, and will be reviewing the HD features for potential broadcast on the network.