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Guba inks film deal with Sony Pictures

Sony is the second major studio in less than a month to make movies available for download on the video-sharing site.

Video-sharing site Guba has signed its second distribution deal with a major studio in less than a month, another sign the little-known company is quickly becoming a hot property in Hollywood.

Sony Pictures has agreed to offer 100 of the studio's feature-length films on Guba's online store, the companies said Monday. Among the growing number of video-sharing sites, Guba is the only one offering a means to legally download movies over the Internet.

Warner Bros. Entertainment began selling 200 movie titles on Guba two weeks ago.

Video sharing on the Web is one of the hottest trends on the Internet and big entertainment companies are sidling up to market front-runners. NBC began recently promoting TV shows on YouTube. However, few video-sharing companies have proven they can make money.

Guba is profitable, said Guba CEO Thomas McInerney, and that's one of the things that attracted Sony, said Sean Carey, Sony's executive vice president of digital distribution.

"Most (user-generated video sites) are at the moment lacking a revenue model," Carey said. "Some of them are starting to embrace advertising, but Guba is the first to add premium studio content to their mix."

Other video-sharing sites should take heart as Sony's deal with Guba is nonexclusive. Carey said that studio chiefs want to do business with anyone--provided that a potential partner protects Sony's movies from being pirated. (Guba uses Microsoft's digital right's management to secure videos from unauthorized copying, McInerney said.)

But other video-sharing sites better hurry. Guba has jumped to a quick lead in building ties with studios. McInerney spent the past year shuttling between his company's San Francisco headquarters and Hollywood as he wooed studio executives.

"Certainly, there's more announcements coming," McInerney said. "We're speaking to almost all of the studios."

Sony's films are expected to go on sale at Guba on Wednesday. Newer releases will cost $19.99, while older titles will start at $9.99. All the videos can be downloaded and played on Windows Media Player. Some titles will also be available for rent.