Live (DRM) Free or Die Hard

A few folks have now reported on 20th Century Fox’s move to offer an electronic copy of the movie “Live Free or Die Hard” along with packaged DVDs when sales begin November 20th. I love the idea, though being touted as DRM-free is a bit suspect given the digital files are only compatible with Microsoft PlaysForSure devices.

A few things come to mind with this “Digital Copy” business model. First, bundling a tangible item and a digital file together makes sense. Despite the incursion of digital downloads, it’s going to be quite a while before we see the death of the DVD, and studios have a great opportunity to get consumers used to buying something with physical packaging in combination with their video content. In the future the tangible part might not be a DVD, but extras of some sort. (Tee shirts? Phone charms? Posters? I’m sure marketing will come up with something.)

Second, these digital files have to become DRM-free in the future. Maybe there needs to be watermarking (or some type of pin number access?), but those files have to be truly portable. There are too many competing platforms on the market for content to be tied to any single one.

Third, in this specific instance, where are the digital file’s video resolution details? How will it be presented on different screens and devices? Perhaps we’ll hear more closer to launch, or from the folks at Warner Home Video – who are trying the same tactic with their December 11th Harry Potter release.

By the way, anyone else see Live Free or Die Hard in the theater? It was great trash movie and I was willing to suspend disbelief all the way until the end. That big action finale was seriously a bit much.

Oh… and anyone else see the irony in Mac Dude (Justin Long with Bruce above) promoting Microsoft PlaysForSure?

6 thoughts on “Live (DRM) Free or Die Hard”

  1. I’m actually planning on getting the region 2 version of Harry Potter from (as I have with all the previous films) and they are saying availability on Nov. 12. I’m particularly anxious to see if there will be some sort of region lock on these files as well or if the digital copy will be available in the US only.

  2. I’m really interested in this development, so I’m glad you guys are paying attention to it.

    What would make sense here would be for the studio to work with so as soon as you buy the DVD from Amazon, your “digital library” has the digital copy of the movie immediately available for download and viewing. Perfect combination of instant gratification and physical product. It would increase sales of the DVD and would drive a lot of those sales to Amazon. Everyone wins.

  3. MHAithaca- Makes sense to me. Plus I would think it would add immediate Amazon stickiness because it’s one more online “touch” for them. If folks are buying online, then relevant online promotion is key. (As Amazon already knows)

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