Barnes & Noble.com announced the launch of its online video store, which the company says will feature tens of thousands of movies in both DVD and VHS format.
The most recent Forrester Research PowerRanking puts Barnes & Noble in third place among online booksellers, behind Amazon and Borders. Amazon and Borders have a two-year head start selling movies on the Web.
A recent report by the Boston Consulting Group predicted that by the end of 2000, 10 percent of the total sales of computers, books, music, and videos will occur online.
Betting on Jaws
To promote its new offering, Barnes & Noble.com plans to capitalize on the success of the classic film “Jaws,” which is being released as a DVD to celebrate the movie’s 25th anniversary. Barnes & Noble.com will be premiering exclusive video clips from “The Making of Jaws,” the behind-the-scenes documentary about the original beach-clearing summer blockbuster.
The e-tailer is hoping to win business away from its powerful competitors by providing visitors with video interviews and clips of movies. The site will also provide cast and crew filmographies, movie reviews, ratings, and editorial recommendations for the best and most significant movies from each genre.
Barnes & Noble.com also plans to publish a column by Dr. Video, who Barnes & Noble says is the “world’s only movie-obsessed advice columnist.” Customers will be able to e-mail Dr. Video suggestions on the right videos to help with problems ranging from the flu to lost dogs to broken relationships.
At the same time that online bookstores are putting videos on their virtual shelves, the movie studios themselves are cautiously stepping into the e-commerce arena.
Miramax Films announced in April that it will be offering selected movies for downloading from the Internet. Miramax entered a non-exclusive agreement with multimedia distribution company SightSound.com to make 12 full-length feature films available for download, with individual Web sites to be established for each movie. The decision follows a recent announcement from MGM that it will be opening the doors of its huge film library for online distribution.
The uproar in the music industry over free and pirated downloading of copyrighted content has made Hollywood cautious about making movies available for downloading. Just this week, eight major movie studios were in a Manhattan courtroom arguing over the protection of downloadable movies.
The studios have sued Eric Corley, publisher of the Web site 2600.com and the related print publication “2600: The Hacker Quarterly.” The studios want the federal court to order Corley to stop online distribution of the software that descrambles the code meant to prevent DVDs from being copied.