Greg Sandoval at ZDNet:
Warner Bros. Entertainment on Monday began selling full-length feature films and TV shows over the Internet via Guba, one of a legion of companies presenting amateur-videos on the Web.
Guba customers can rent a film for $1.79 per day or pay $9.99 to own an older title. Newer movies cost $19.99 (actually TV shows rent for $1.79 and movies for $1.99 a day – ed.). All the content is protected by Microsoft-developed digital rights management software, the companies said.
The agreement is the latest sign that at least some in Hollywood may be ready to deal with Internet sites that some in the movie business consider a threat. Warner Bros. last month announced that it had chosen file-sharing technology from BitTorrent to distribute films.
The difference is that the Guba content can be copied to DVDs:
Under the Guba-Warner Bros. agreement, people will be able to make a copy of a video onto a DVD, but, because of industry licensing agreements, it can only be played on the computer from which it was burned. Wuthrich said he hopes consumers will be able to watch the copied DVDs with a DVD player within a year or so.
while purchases from BitTorrent cannot be copied to DVDs at all.
For Guba, the partnership is a coup. Like most other competitors in the video-sharing space, Guba has seen its public profile eclipsed by the juggernaut, YouTube. Thomas McInerney, the Guba’s CEO, said he hopes the Warner Bros. partnership will help the company stand apart from rivals.
There is some interesting background on Guba by following the link, but the bigger story is studios embracing download services in the apparent hope that the widespread availability of legal content will cut down on piracy. It might even work.
Note that Warner Bros. did a separate deal with corporate cousin AOL for distributing old TV shows for free.
Update 8/23: This post was heavily revised.