Disney Films go online in CinemaNow deal

Last week Walt Disney began offering its movies for sale via the Internet in a deal with CinemaNow, the online delivery service.

CinemaNow, based in Santa Monica, CA, said Disney's home video division, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, will offer movies on a download-to-own basis for PCs and portable devices on the same day they are available on DVD.

Disney's move follows a similar announcement made in April by rival studios to offer titles for sale via Movielink, which is a joint venture owned by five Disney rivals and a key competitor of CinemaNow, Reuters reported.

CinemaNow said prices for Disney content would be similar to DVDs, or about $20 per new title and $10 for some of the older films. The movies can be transferred to up to three more devices including laptop PCs and handheld electronic devices, which was a key factor for Disney movies that are often made for families.

A large market for downloadable movies has been parents, who load digital copies onto laptop PCs and place them in cars for kids to watch while parents are driving, Reuters reported.

The CinemaNow purchasers will not be able to burn their downloaded copies onto DVDs, which is a feature consumers want but studios are not allowing until burned DVDs can be strongly protected from illegal copying.