Studio targeting younger consumers that watch shows on computers
By Gary Gentile
LOS ANGELES - Warner Bros. began selling its movies and TV shows over the Internet video site Guba.com Monday, marking the second deal the studio has made to distribute content over Web sites that have offered pirated video in the past.
Guba.com has featured mainly user-generated video clips for free or as part of a subscription, some of which were unauthorized clips from TV shows or movies.
The site has since agreed to start filtering copyright and obscene content and institute tougher security measures after talks with the Motion Picture Association of America, a group that represents Hollywood studios.
In May, Warner Bros. agreed to start selling its movies and shows using peer-to-peer technology developed by BitTorrent Inc., which has been used to trade pirated copies of movies.
Both deals are aimed at appealing to younger consumers who watch shows on computers or portable devices.
"Kids in the dorm rooms don't own TVs," said Tom McInerney, co-founder and chief executive of Guba. "They've got computers and that's their source of entertainment."
Guba is one of a growing number of Web sites that offer short videos contributed by users who record song parodies and other short video content. Such sites have become popular, but have not yet developed a business model to make money off of such videos.
McInerney said that ultimately people will only pay for top quality shows produced by professionals.
"Nobody is going to pay for a video of a dog doing a stupid pet trick," he said.
Rental prices start at $1.99 for unlimited viewing during a 24-hour period.
Viewers can also download permanent copies of shows. New movies such as "Good Night and Good Luck" will sell for $19.99, while older titles, such as "Rebel Without a Cause," will sell for $9.99.
New films will become available the same day the DVDs are released in stores.
TV shows will sell for $1.79 per episode.
Users will be able to stream the shows over a home network and transfer them to a portable device using Windows media software.
As with other services that launched recently, consumers will not be able to burn the shows on DVDs that will work on normal DVD players.