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Fox Hopes To Jump-Start Digital Movie Sell-Through

9/18/2012 11:16:00 AM Eastern

Los Angeles – Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment hopes to jump-start the electronic sell-through (EST) business for movies with the launch of its Digital HD initiative, which lets consumers purchase a movie title for streaming or downloading to multiple home and portable devices.

More than 600 Fox films, including catalog titles and new releases, are available today in more than 50 countries for HD streaming or downloading from Amazon, CinemaNow, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox Live and YouTube. Title prices average less than $15, and the titles can be purchased in digital form without buying a physical DVD or Blu-ray Disc, as has been the case with the movie industry’s Digital Copy initiative and with titles available to date for the UltraViolet movie-locker service.

The studio is encouraging competitors to adopt the Digital HD brand and business model to expand the EST market, a spokesman said. EST, though available, “has never really been launched,” the spokesperson said.

Fox said it will drive adoption by launching through a wide range of online sites already used by consumers. “People are familiar with their own platforms,” a spokesman said.

Also to expand the market, Fox launched what it believes is the home-video industry’s largest all-digital media campaign focused on digital movies. Digital ads will be placed on about 20 major online sites reach more than 100 million active movie viewers. The campaign will run for at least one month and include movie-streaming and -download sites and major sports, music and gaming sites.

Also to promote the launch, Fox is offering the movie “Prometheus” in Digital HD three weeks before it becomes available on Blu-ray, DVD or video on demand. “Prometheus” is also Fox’s first movie compatible with the UltraViolet locker service.

Other new releases from Fox will also be available through the Digital HD initiative before they’re available on disc or video on demand, the spokesperson said. “Two weeks will be the likely window for the foreseeable future,” he noted. Additional Digital HD new releases this year will include “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Ice Age: Continental Drift,” “The Watch,” and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days.”

The availability of a Digital HD title for streaming or downloading depends on the selling site’s technology platform and the playback device. In the home, for example, purchased movies can be streamed to smart TVs and downloaded to an Xbox, PlayStation or PC. From the PC, a downloaded movie can be side-loaded to multiple compatible tablets, smartphones, and portable media player or synced with those devices via the Cloud. Movies can also be streamed and downloaded directly by a portable device via Wi-Fi or cellular from a site selling Digital HD movies, the spokesman said.

“With almost 800 million broadband connected devices globally, and millions of people accessing entertainment on those devices, we feel the medium’s time has come,’’ said Mike Dunn, worldwide president of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. “Digital HD redefines digital ownership in a way that presents consumers with a full range of benefits in a coherent way, and it allows them the chance to build digital movie collections that can literally be carried in the palms of their hands.”

Mary Daily, chief marketing officer and worldwide marketing president, called Digital HD “a brand that will define the convenience and selection that digital ownership brings.”

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