Paramount Pictures Sells Movie Downloads On AOL

Viacom's Paramount Pictures has started selling full-length movies on AOL, joining other major studios including 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Films available for download on AOL at prices ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 include recent movies like "Failure to Launch" and older films, like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Chinatown." With the addition of the Paramount titles, AOL now sells more than 300 movies from the major studios.

The digital film download space has become increasingly crowded in the last several months, as studios are experimenting with different distribution models and price points. In August, News Corp. said it would sell downloads of movies like "X-Men: The Last Stand" for $19.99 on Fox sites.

Apple Computer in September also launched a movie store with videos provided by Walt Disney Co.'s Pixar, Miramax, Touchstone and Disney. Apple's downloads cost $12.99 for pre-orders and new releases in their first week of circulation, $15 for recent releases, and $10 for older titles.

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Additionally, last month, Amazon started selling films with prices ranging from $7.99 to $14.99 and renting for $3.99 each.

Still, despite the influx of new services, the market isn't expected to approach its potential until consumers can watch movies they have downloaded on TV screens--either by burning high-quality DVDs, or transferring directly to TV via another device.

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