Intel backs movie download venture

ClickStar, a joint venture between Intel and Revelations Entertainment, will distribute movies over the Internet on the same day they open in theaters

Intel and Revelations Entertainment — actor Morgan Freeman’s motion picture production company — have formed a new venture aimed at distributing movies over the Internet on the same day they open in movie theaters.

The new company, called ClickStar, is taking on an unfamiliar and potentially controversial role in Hollywood. Hollywood execs have long viewed online distribution as a potentially destabilizing force on DVD sales, CNET News reported. Most online movie ventures, such as Movielink and CinemaNow, are allowed to distribute films only after they have been in home video circulation for up to several months.

However, Intel and Revelations Entertainment said that consumers have shown they want to download films earlier and that traditional DVD releases aren’t meeting that demand.

The move highlights the growing role that Internet movie distribution is likely to play in the wake of successes such as Apple Computer’s iTunes in the music business.

The company is expected to begin operation next year. It does not consider itself a direct competitor to such online movie rental services as Movielink and CinemaNow, which make films available either during the VOD window or after they go to sell-through. Consumers will be able to access ClickStar from a variety of digital sources as well as play the content on laptops, PDAs and other mobile devices.

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