Australian DVD rental company Quickflix, which has previously delivered movies ordered online through the mail, will begin taking the next step to a fully digital service by offering movie downloads.
Working in an initial partnership with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group Australia, the service will make downloadable films available for rent (with DRM restrictions for viewing within 24 hours) or purchase on the same day as its DVD release.
The exact pricing structure has not yet been announced, but Quickflix says the cost will mirror standard Australian DVD retail and rental costs. Quickflix subscription plans currently range from $9.95 to $26.95 per month; however, customers will not have to be a Quickflix member to use the download service.
Although the movie subscription company has a catalogue of over 35,000 video titles, the Quickflix download option launches on 3 June with just one title available, 2009 Academy Award finalist for Best Picture, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
With postal delivery, customers can choose from either DVD or Blu-ray formats, but the downloadable movies will be available in standard-definition quality only. Even so, the file size of Benjamin Button is 2GB, but Quickflix says the average movie file size should be in the 1.5GB range.
The download caps imposed in many Australian broadband plans is obviously an impediment to the service taking off, and Quickflix says it is in discussion with several Australian ISPs to work through this issue. To gain traction, the service will have to aim for the level of the 150,000 DVDs Quickflix currently rents and distributes through the postal service each month.
Citing consistently reliable and high quality end product, Quickflix founder and executive director Stephen Langsford notes, "The launch of legitimate digital movie downloads in Australia is a big day in the fight against online piracy."
More legally downloadable Warner Bros. titles are expected to be announced in the coming months, and Quickflix is also approaching other movie distributors for additional content.