Video-on-Demand, Hollywood Style

In a bid to thwart Napster-style upstarts, five of Tinseltown's top players have struck a deal to standardize distribution over the Web

It's not often that Hollywood studios come out of a room with an agreement to work together. But on Aug. 16, five of the seven largest studios announced an unusual joint plan to offer digitized movies over the Internet. MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. will create a service -- called Moviefly, for now -- where consumers can download films instead of renting them at the video store. Time to break out the microwave popcorn? Not so fast.

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