Apple, Disney sit-out collective movie studio plan

Major Hollywood film studios are teaming-up, working together in an attempt to create a standard approach to the DRM types used in various online movie stores – though some notable names are refusing to play ball.

The studios have begun what they are calling their Open Market digital initiative, an attempt to simplify the way consumers interact with online film services by harmonsing DRM use.

The plan appears to be focused on opening the scenery up in order that a consumer can buy a film from any store and watch that movie on any device.

First proposed by Sony last year, Open Market is a trans-company move which already sees studios Fox, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Time Warner involved. Also involved are Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Comcast and CinemaNow.

Sources told TechCrunch the studios are putting their weight behind the initiative to avoid the fate of the music industry and as a last ditch effort to stop or slow non-DRM movie sales.

Industry observers can’t help but notice that Apple and key Disney Studios including Pixar, Touchstone and Miramax aren’t part of the initiative, putting their weight behind Apple’s FairPlay model.

Because Apple won’t license FairPlay to other online stores or device manufacturers, Apple’s competitors have the chance to put together a collective approach based on shared DRM principles in order to secure a generous slice of the online film download market.

However, the increased popularity of BitTorrent and the increased prevalence of online streaming of content suggests studios must move fast to ensure they meet the needs of the changing market.

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