Disney To Sell Movies Through Microsoft Xbox


Disney-ABC Domestic Television has struck a deal with Microsoft to sell downloads of Disney feature films through Xbox LIVE, the high-definition download service that runs through Microsoft’s popular Xbox 360 game console.

Under the deal, announced yesterday at the E3 gaming convention in Santa Monica, Calif., Xbox Live users will be able to access both new and classic films from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films in either the standard- or high-definition formats.

High-definition new-release movie rentals cost 480 Microsoft Points each (about $6; a 1600-point Microsoft Points gift card costs $20), and standard-definition new-release movie rentals are 320 Microsoft Points each (about $4). Classic feature films in high definition are 360 Microsoft Points each, and classic feature films in standard definition are 240 Microsoft Points.

The Disney/Xbox is the second announcement of a movie download service that could offer competition to cable's video-on-demand offerings. Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it would now sell movie downloads through broadband-connected TiVo digital video recorders.

Disney is one of several content owners selling their programs through the Xbox Live service, including CBS, Adult Swim, Warner Bros. and A&E. The service currently offers 2,350 hours of premium entertainment content from 15 partners, says Microsoft. Microsoft also formed a competition with the New York Film Festival to encourage the creation of original films for the Xbox Live platform. "We’re always looking for more ways to let people experience our films," said Dan Cohen, executive vice president of pay television and interactive media for Disney-ABC Domestic Television, in a statement. "With the millions of Xbox 360 consoles in living rooms today with a direct, high-speed Internet connection, Xbox LIVE really has become a terrific device for the delivery of digital entertainment content."

The announcement of the Disney partnership comes just days after Microsoft announced that it would take a $1 billion charge to its second quarter earnings to cover warranty expenses associated with a hardware failure on some Xbox 360 consoles. To date, Microsoft says it has sold over 11.6 million Xbox 360 consoles and signed up 7 million members for the Xbox Live service.