Intel and Morgan Freeman Team On Net Film Distribution

    July 7, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The massive chipmaker will work with the Oscar winner’s production company on releasing films online before their DVD release.

I know what you’re thinking: “We’ve already got a system in place for releasing videos to the web before they come out on DVD. It’s called peer-to-peer file sharing.”

Ha ha ha. The approach that will be taken by the joint venture between Intel and Mr. Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment offers a legal, global alternative to usual distribution models. They plan to call the venture ClickStar, with Intel investing an unspecified amount of cash.

The new business will be a digital entertainment company providing first-run movies in a for-pay download format. That model would bypass traditional DVD distribution methods, and would also make those downloads available before a DVD release of the film.

While the new partners bill the teamup as “a vehicle to connect directly with fans and offer consumers a new way of experiencing home entertainment,” it also presents a way for the movie industry to try and preempt the ongoing piracy of films.

Hollywood has been exceptionally slow to embrace the Internet as something beyond another place to advertise feature films. Mr. Freeman seems to recognize that the power of instantaneous global communication has led to a lot of fan impatience with traditional entertainment providers.

Delivering on the promise will mean more than one studio has to participate in the venture. Revelations is relatively small when compared to Hollywood neighbors like Universal Studios or Disney. Those and other big names may be watching the venture with interest.

But even if ClickStar gains significant demand, the other studios will have to weigh the prospects of releasing a film online before an international debut. Many films that earned a modest domestic gross have found higher grosses internationally.

ClickStar would have to demonstrate it can generate more profitability worldwide for non-blockbuster releases than the studios could find through the traditional big-screen release. That would push Hollywood to reevalute its opinions about online film distribution.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.