Al Mason, the president of Cinema on Web, thinks he's found a way. Mason's site releases first-run movies on the Web on the same day, or the day before their theatrical releases for $5, allowing millions of moviegoers the chance to download the films in cinema quality, cheaply and legally.
Mason's site, Cinema on Web, is powered by the divx Open Video System, a video compression technology providing dvd-quality video in a file size that allows it to fit onto a cd or be transferred over a broadband connection. The encryption technology also makes sure that the movie is only viewed once, and cannot be copied or transferred.
For the most part, Cinema on Web's offerings are Bollywood features, but Mason envisions other content making its way onto divx technology through his site. "If you have the right product, it's right there. Movies, concerts, shows, rock stars. It's big money, big ticket money," Mason says. Cinema on Web expects to see 500 million pay-per-view customers from 2005 to 2007, each paying $5 for a first-run ticket, or 90 cents to $1.99 for classics.
For the movie industry especially, Cinema on Web gives an out to companies losing money to pirates. The company's big name is Bollywood legend Dev Anand, whose company, Nev Katan International Films, offers both his new releases and Bollywood classics, like "Guide," "Jewel Thief," and "Haré Rama Krishna" on Cinema on Web. SG