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Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Napster looking to enter movie downloads

Original music download heavyweight Napster is considering remaking itself as a movie download site too.

Speaking at the Midem music conference, Napster CEO Chris Gorog said the company was considering offering movies alongside its current catalogue of some one million music tracks.
"We are currently considering moving into video, particularly to tap the younger video-game generation," he told delegates, according to the Financial Times. "I do think that while there are huge players in the delivery of movies like Sky, there could be a role for Napster."
Online movie distribution has already taken off to a small degree in the US, with MovieLink and CinemaNow selling films via the web from $2.99 upwards.
MovieLink is backed by major cinemas, including MGM Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers Studios, while CinemaNow has big name partners including Disney and Microsoft.
However, usage of legal movie download sites has paled in comparison to that of illegal film distribution - with the movie business fretting accordingly. Film industry body the MPAA has filed lawsuits against pirates and is also cracking down on distribution networks such as eDonkey and BitTorrent.
Nevertheless, analysts are predicting legal film downloads could be a winner. Since the advent of broadband film downloads have surged considerably - one in four people online have now downloaded a film, the MPAA says - encouraging Napster and others to eye the market.
In other news, Napster has announced it will be opening a German song shop within the year.

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