I can't link to the WSJ because it's subscription only. But today saw a fascinating article (details below in the "more" section) in which Warner Brothers announced that it would use Peer-to-Peer technology to distribute its movies at the same time as DVDs. This gives them a cheaper distribution channel, but they're still going to charge a to-be-determined amount (it will be very interesting to see what price point they hit to ensure they don't cannibalize DVD sales but see if they can win over some people that are otherwise prone to privacy). My guess- 30% less than DVDs as long as the portability restrictions aren't much higher than DVDs. Otherwise the masses will go to NetFlix, Blockbusters or peer-to-peer black markets.
To read a highlight of the article, click "more" below.
Online Sharing Evolves for Warner Bros.: Peer-to-Peer Technology, Long Scorned for Pirating, Is Tapped for Sales of Movies, Shows
By SARAH MCBRIDE, May 9, 2006; WSJ, Page B2
In a sign that Hollywood is trying to adapt to a technology it long feared, Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. announced that it will sell and rent movies and television shows online using BitTorrent Inc.'s peer-to-peer technology… Given that peer-to-peer technology provides a cheap and efficient way to move large files around the Internet, it is looking increasingly attractive to some studio executives, provided the files move with robust copy protection.vExpected to launch this summer, Warner's service will sell and rent movies and television shows the same day they are released on DVD. The content will have heavy-duty security features so they can't be pirated. By using the peer-to-peer service, people will essentially agree to let Warner and BitTorrent turn their own computers into miniservers to help distribute entertainment to other customers around the network. The large files get broken down into small pieces, cutting down on bandwidth costs and time needed to transmit them. A customer receiving a movie could get pieces of it from thousands of other computers before it gets reassembled at the destination computer.