Universal: trailblazing again
Universal Pictures UK has teamed up with film/music download service Wippit for a download-to-own movie service. The service uses Universal's three-copy model, which consists of two digital files that can be downloaded to a PC or laptop and a portable device, in conjunction with a DVD which is mailed by post. Downloads will be priced from £9.99 per title, although a special introductory deal will offer consumers three titles for the price of £20 for a limited period.
This is an interesting development, not least because Wippit doesn't currently have a video service. It could work in Universal's favour if they can piggy-back a successful video launch for Wippit, but on the other hand, if the launch isn't successful the titles could sink without trace.
I'm still not convinced by the requirement to buy a physical DVD in order to get a download, but my sources at Universal say their research showed that this was an overwhelming consumer preference. Maybe it's understandable in the context of a transitional-phase service, but I'd have thought people would like the flexibility to choose which format, or combination of formats, they want to buy.
As I've said before, kudos to anyone prepared to try anything - it's been too long coming.