WB distribute movies via apps

Tim Grey
17 February, 2011
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Warner Bros has cooked up a new way to distribute its movies, offering ‘App Editions’ through the iTunes app store, a method which allows the company to distribute films in countries where the iTunes movie service is not yet available.

Beginning with Chris Nolan’s Inception and The Dark Knight, the Bros are offering the apps free, which allows viewers to stream the first five minutes of the film. An in-app purchase unlocks the movie in its entirety, while giving access to bonus material, soundtracks and social networking features.

“Warner Bros. is bringing more than 100 million Apple device owners a highly innovative new way to experience their favorite films,” says Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution in a press release. “For many, watching a movie is a social activity and App Editions are the first mobile product to deliver this capability on a global scale. They offer a fully connected experience, allowing viewers to engage with others around the world in real-time through Facebook and Twitter.”

To purchase Inception within the app costs $22.95 – cheaper than the iTunes movie download – although different films are available at different prices. The streaming experience, however, is roughly the same quality as a YouTube video. Downloading the film in higher quality runs to two gigabytes.

There are some intriguing additions to the App Edition, however, such as the pairing the film’s score and a browser for Warner Bros library of films. In any case, it’s an innovative distribution method, and one that’s likely to be emulated by other studios.

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