Bourne to Hit Vudu, DVD, HD DVD
Vudu rents and sells content. In addition to Universal, it is also doing business with Paramount and Lionsgate, with a catalogue totaling 5000 titles. Rental fees range from 99 cents to $4.99.
In a special holiday offer, people signing up for Vudu (and paying $399 for the set-top box) will get free permanent ownership of the two older Bourne movies (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy) plus an opportunity to buy The Bourne Ultimatum for $24.99. See press release.
The move to downloadable movies may spell doom for Blu-ray, HD DVD, and optical disc formats in general. Remember, downloads have already devastated the CD-based music industry. Given the choice between Blu-ray, HD DVD, and making piles and piles of money, the studios will always choose the piles of money--with a nervous eye cocked at the critically wounded and terminally litigious music industry.
NBC-Universal continues its post-iTunes expansion with several other deals. Among them is a pact between the NBC television network and SanDisk's Fanfare service. Users can download content from PC to the Sansa TakeTV device, then plug the TakeTV into a cradle and view the content on a TV set. SanDisk is the second largest maker of music players, after the iPod, of course.
Another deal between the Universal Music Group and Imeem will stream Universal music videos in exchange for a slice of ad revenue.