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August 25, 2006

Guba goes low on movie download pricing

Red Herring:

In an effort to jump-start their video pay-per-download service, Guba said Monday it has slashed the prices for buying or renting premium television shows and movies from their site.

Movie buffs can buy new studio releases for $9.99 on the same day the movie is released on DVD. Catalog movie titles cost $4.99, and TV show episodes are going for $0.49. And users can get a 24-hour movie rental for $0.99, the same price as a song on Apple’s iTunes.

Previously, new releases of films like V for Vendetta, Syriana, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, cost $19.99 to buy, and were not available for rent.

“Nobody knows what the right price is for this stuff online,” said Guba CEO Tom McInerney. “The studios don’t know, even Apple doesn’t know.”

Mr. McInerney said the promotion has been a hit with users. Traffic on the site has increased 500 percent since the promotion began last week. “Clearly pricing does matter,” he said.

I’m not shocked at that news.

Note that per the press release:

Technical requirements: GUBA’s Premium service uses Digital Rights Management (DRM) copyright protection software developed by Microsoft. Only devices with current Windows Media technology can play GUBA’s Premium content, including most Windows PCs.

Restrictions: GUBA Premium content is only available to users in the US due to international copyright ownership restrictions. Purchased videos are owned in perpetuity but cannot be burned to DVD due to current restrictions of the DRM software.

That’s a change from the previous Guba DVD limitation and actually the Guba FAQ indicates that their content comes with various different licensing terms. It just appears that this movie special is one of the more restrictive. Frankly, I’m not sure that I really would want an extensive movie collection tied to a particular PC, but maybe if you just view it as a on-demand video rental alternative, it’s OK.

Catherine Holahan has a review at BusinessWeek online which makes a similar assessment, but observes that Guba has a lot of free content that might be worth investigating.

Posted at 10:44 am. Filed under Bargains, Companies, Guba, Internet, Video Downloads

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