Intel-backed venture another feather in cap of Microsoft media juggernaut

Intel-backed venture another feather in cap of Microsoft media juggernaut

Summary:'s John Borland has reported that Intel is forming a joint venture with Revelations Entertainment (actor Morgan Freeman's movie production company) called ClickStar.

8's John Borland has reported that Intel is forming a joint venture with Revelations Entertainment (actor Morgan Freeman's movie production company) called ClickStar.  The purpose of the joint venture will be to distribute, via download, first run movies over the Internet.  The story focuses mainly on the impact that such ventures might have as a destablizing force to DVD sales -- something that many Hollywood types won't take to kindly to.  At least initially.  To woo Hollywood executives, the story says that Intel and Revelations have been working on a model digital home in Los Angeles that showcases the latest in digital entertainment gear.  For me, though, and my ongoing series of stories about Microsoft's media juggernaut, the most important part of the story is buried at the bottom.  Wrote Borland:

The new service is expected to launch in early 2006, using Microsoft Windows Media technology and digital rights management. The venture is not yet announcing any studio content that will be available through the service, but participants said other studios have been receptive to the idea in early discussions.

As I've written many times before,  Apple may have a huge number of iPods in the market, but the only company that has laid any serious digital entertainment infrastructure -- from deals with content providers to deals with telecommuncations companies and others in a key position to distrubute (eg: TiVo) -- is Microsoft.  By themselves, most Silicon Valley technology companies don't have a lot of clout in Hollywood.  But with Morgan Freeman at its side, Intel now has serious clout for a digital content project that its backing, and that other studios can leverage.  Clout that Microsoft must be loving every single bit of given the project's technology selection.   By the way, I agree with the  selection since no other digital media platform offers the reach that Windows Media does when it comes to distributing video.  What other choice do you have if you're going to publish downloadable video?  As I said once before (see Will Microsoft's monoculture take the 'pod' out of podcasting?), "to the extent that the publishers of those multimedia casts want to reach the biggest target, they may also end up stretching the Microsoft monoculture beyond the desktop into everything that's digital, including but not limited to handhelds, cameras, phones (OK, those are converging anyway), rights management, and networks."

Topic: Intel

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  • Have you seen that "digital home?"

    Even Intel employees are contemptuous of it.

    It remains to be seen whether this is going to help Microsoft lock up the entertainment market or just give them another black eye.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • As Far as You Know!

    Microsoft tends to lead everything with news releases and public
    announcements. Apple doesn't and probably holds deals/
    partnerships close to the vest and probably holds their potential
    partners to an NDA. So, unless you have personally sat down with
    Steve Jobs and he told you they don't have anything going, you are
    probably as clueless as the rest of us.
    • Stupid if true...

      Hmmm, let's hide or light under a bushel so no one knows we even exist. Yeah, sounds like a marketing plan,,, NOT!!!
      • What he means that Microsoft bases its high position on propaganda and flashy announcements, not on merit of innovation.

        Come on, let's face it, how much _really new_ technology has Microsoft brought to the market? Very little! They almost always copy their competitors, and when they don't, they simply buy the truly creative companies.
        • And that matters how?

          The goal of a for profit company is to deliver a product the consumer see's value in. How they "developed" it matters not a bit...
        • But this had nothing to do ...

          with a Microsoft announcement. To me, the important trend here is that third parties are making announcements without Microsoft's involvement and that somewhere, they're use of Microsoft's technology is just a footnote. My position is that it's much more than a footnote.
  • Those feathers look like a full bonnet.

    Looking at all the "deals" MS has made in the last year one would have to be both blind and dumb not to see how things are shaping up. But then I suppose for the MS bashers hope springs eternal.
  • Intel and Revelations

    However, Intel and Revelations said that consumers have shown they want to download films earlier and that traditional DVD releases aren't meeting that demand.

    "Our view is that making content available on the Internet is not an option--it is an imperative for the industry, given piracy and consumer demands for flexibility," said ClickStar's new chief executive officer, Nizar Allibhoy, a former Sony Pictures executive. "Our motto is, 'Anytime, anyplace, on any device.'"

    The move highlights the growing role that Internet movie distribution is likely to play in the wake of successes such as Apple Computer's iTunes in the music business.

    A handful of technological and cultural factors are coming together to make the movie business--and the role of movies online--look very much like the music business in the years just before the release of iTunes in 2003.

    Online piracy of films is up, although quality of the downloads is far inferior to DVDs. Box-office revenues are down, even as overall Hollywood profits have remained buoyed by DVD sales. That sales growth may finally be slowing, with relatively anemic sales of recent films including "Shrek 2" and "The Incredibles," however.

    Davison, Editor