December 09, 2010
| by Grant Clauser
Last week people were complaining about the price increase Netflix inflicted upon users who wanted to stream the latest or almost latest movies directly to their televisions while also receiving discs in the mail. Those people probably won’t be taking advantage of a new service by Prima Cinema Inc., a start-up company that is offering first-run, yes first-run, movies digitally sent directly to your home for a nominal fee of about $500 per film, plus an initial $20,000 investment for installation of the digital delivery system.
An article in the Wall Street Journal describes the new start-up as a Los Angeles-based company with about $5 million in backing from Best Buy and Universal Pictures. Even with the rather shocking initial price of $20,000 for the digital delivery system alone, according to the WSJ article, Prima expects to install 250,000 systems within the next five years. “We are trying to create new revenue streams for studios and new viewing opportunities for moviegoers,” said Prima’s founder and chief executive Jason Pang.
The article states that Prima is talking with all six major movie studios, in addition to some smaller independents, to work out deals to include their content in the service. It’s unknown at the moment, what studios will be on-board at the company’s launch later next year. Viacom’s CEO already said that Paramount won’t be part of the deal.
Of course, a system like this begs the question: has Hollywood produced anything lately that’s worth $500 to watch a few weeks or months earlier than anyone else? Have there been any movies in the last couple years that you would pay that much to screen early? Considering the $20,000 investment just to set up the digital delivery system, you might as well simply buy up all the tickets in a commercial theater and invite your friends there.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.