Apple and Amazon launching movie downloads

Rival companies jumping into the online film world

Just when you thought that the next big format war would be either Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD or Skynet Vs The Human Race (Skynet will lose on penalties, apparently), along comes another rumble in the digital jungle.

Amazon and Apple are both planning to launch movie download services later this week, according to industry tattle. So far, Amazon looks to have an early advantage, as the online retailer has apparently set up deals with every major studio, including Paramount, Warner Bros, MGM, Sony, Universal and Lionsgate.

Apple so far only has Disney on board, but a little competition never stopped Steve Jobs’ cyber-minions before, as any company who has tried to launch an iPod-killer will attest. Seems the major sticking point for Apple – and the area in which Amazon has taken its lead – is the dosh. Amazon was willing to stump up the pricing the studios wanted so that DVDs weren’t undercut, whereas Apple wanted to charge a lower, flat fee, much like they do for music.

CinemaNow and BoxOffice365 are already up and running, so it remains to be seen what effect the twin titans might have. But they’re planning some big moves, such as Apple’s idea to allow users to stream movies from the ‘net to their TV.

As of yet, we’ve no news on exactly when the companies will launch UK versions of either the Amazon or iTunes download system, but rest assured we’ll keep you informed. The gloves are about to come off…