Miércoles 20 de Julio de 2005, Ip nº 118

Freeman Bringing Films to Net
Por Katie Dean

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman is teaming up with Intel to launch an online movie-download site that aims to pull users away from illegal downloads of first-run films.

ClickStar will focus on making first-run and pre-DVD films available for download. Movie fans will be able both to purchase and rent films from the service.

ClickStar was announced Wednesday by Freeman and Intel CEO Paul Otellini at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, an annual gathering of high-powered media executives. Freeman's movie production company, Revelations Entertainment, formed ClickStar with an investment from Intel.

"We're going to bypass what the music industry had to come up with, and that's to get ahead of the whole piracy thing," Freeman told reporters at Sun Valley after making his presentation, which was closed to the press.

Freeman appeared with Intel previously at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2004. Speaking then at an Intel showcase about digital homes, the star predicted that by 2005, a movie would be released online the same day it is released in theaters.

"It's going to happen," Freeman said. He didn't say at the time that he would help make it happen himself by co-founding ClickStar. Freeman will serve as an active adviser to the company and contribute his expertise in selecting content for customers to download.

ClickStar will fall just short of Freeman's prediction, launching in early 2006. Nizar Allibhoy, CEO of ClickStar, said it will distribute first-run, commercial feature films. He said the company wants to give fans access to great content earlier than the current release schedule, and give artists the ability to connect directly with fans around the world.

Consumers can already download films from companies like Movielink and CinemaNow, but the services have been slow to catch on. Movie fans are faced with a limited library, and a limited window to watch films. Most of the movies available expire after 24 hours.

"Morgan always says you must make content easier to buy than to pirate," said Kevin Corbett, a vice president in Intel's digital home group. "That's been the philosophy behind the alliance and the reason why we launched the company."

Corbett said consumers want flexibility and options, and they already look for first-run films on file-sharing networks.

"What we want to do is get the content that we see consumers use now and make those movies available legally through the service," he said.

Films will be protected by digital rights management, but will still be easy for consumers to move to portable devices, Corbett said.

Allibhoy said ClickStar is in discussions with "entities" in the movie industry that would release films through the service but would not comment on any specific deals yet.

Allibhoy said he was not worried that releasing films the same day they hit theaters will have a detrimental effect.

"You cannot replicate the theater experience anywhere else," Allibhoy said. "It's a social experience, it's not just the film. We don't really see this as having a negative effect on (movie theaters). We see this as being yet another distribution outlet. "


  06/07/2005. Wired Magazine.