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Warner Bros to sell movies on Net

February 08, 2006 13:35 IST

Films such as Batman Begins and TV series The OC are to be made available over the Internet via peer-to-peer networks by studio Warner Bros. The firm will sell movies and TV shows over the Internet in Germany, Austria and Switzerland from March.

Its In2Movies service will use the same file-sharing technology that has led to an increase in movie piracy. Warner Bros did not reveal price details but said it planned to widen its international use of P2P networks.

Its In2Movies service will enable viewers to download legally Warner's blockbuster movies and regional programmes as well as material supplied by third parties.

Movie making on mobiles

Eight cell phones, $160,000, and a good idea - could this be the future of film-making? At least the South African director Aryan Kaganof thinks so. And to prove it, he made SMS Sugar Man, which is billed as the world's first feature film shot entirely on mobile phones.

SMS Sugar Man was filmed on eight phone cameras over 11 days with three main characters for less than $164,100 (around Rs 7.4 million). As well as traditional cinema screenings, the film will be beamed to cell phones in 30 three-minute episodes over the course of a month.

Kaganof says the tale of a pimp and two high-class prostitutes cruising around Johannesburg on Christmas Eve is blazing a trail for a new, democratic approach to film that will slash the cost of both making and viewing movies.

Kaganof - who ironically bought his first cell phone last year to make the film - dismissed concerns over quality and said the footage looked "fabulous" when blown up to the standard 35mm feature film size.

Oscar snubs computer-animated toons

Last year, three computer-animated movies were nominated for the animated feature Oscar, and the pundits proclaimed the death of traditional cartoons. But those death notices were premature: This year, digital ones and zeros took a back seat to clay, models and hand-drawn characters.

The Academy's animation branch has ignored such computer-generated imagery box office heavies as Madagascar, Chicken Little and Robots in favour of Hayao Miyazaki's hand-drawn Howl's Moving Castle, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Nick Park and Steve Box's clay-animated Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Bill Kroyer, governor of the Academy's animation branch, said the group isn't swayed by the popular vote at the box office.

Newspapers want search engines to pay

The Internet has undercut the businesses of newspapers, book publishers and magazines for years and now these media are looking for ways to fight back.

Web search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, collect headlines and photos for their users without compensating the publishers a cent, according to the World Association of Newspapers, which announced that it intends to "challenge the exploitation of content" by the Googles and MSNs of the web.

The Paris-based group, which represents 18,000 newspapers, isn't discussing what action it may take. WAN executives said in a statement that they want to explore their options and added that they understand search engines help them in one way: aggregating content and packaging it for consumers. Agence France Presse has already filed suit against Google, alleging that Google News offers its photos and stories without permission.

Charging the solar way

Just when you think you owned everything you could possibly ever need, a Dutch company has unfurled a golf bag with solar panels that can charge a phone. The Soldius Solar Golf Bag holds clubs and balls like any other golf bag, but it also includes integrated solar panels that can be used to charge personal electronic items.

The bags come complete with charging tips that can connect to phones and handhelds from Nokia, Samsung, Sony-Ericsson, Motorola and Research In Motion. Charging time is dependent on sunlight. A charging tip for iPods is sold separately. The four-bag models range in price from $200 to $800, said a spokesman.

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