Village Roadshow cuts download prices in anti-piracy move

Australian media group Village Roadshow is to slash the prices of some titles in its digital rental and sales businesses by up to 20 per cent as it steps up its efforts to curb Internet piracy. It hopes the initiative will encourage people to pay for content.

­Sylvester Stallone blockbusterThe Expendables 3, which was downloaded illegally more than 5 million times and then flopped at the box office, will be one of the first films to be offered more cheaply.

Chris Chard, managing director of Village Roadshow Entertainment, said people would be able to rent the title through sites such as Google Play and iTunes for A$4.99 (€3.50), down from A$5.99, or download the film to own for A$15.99, from A$19,99.

Village Roadshow has been a strong critic of illegal downloading, but along with market counterparts, has been criticised for charging too much for content and delaying its release domestically, a charge refuted by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) which released research commissioned from IHS Technology in mid-September that suggests Australia is the cheapest place in the world to rent high-definition content. It also identifies Australia as second only to the US in cheaply renting standard definition content.

“What this IHS research shows is Australian consumers are getting some of the best prices in the world for the latest new release films in the format they prefer,” said CEO Simon Bush.

“The excuse for doing nothing about piracy – including the poor excuse on price – is no more. We need action and a legislative response to reverse our world first piracy rates to ensure we protect the industries that bring this entertainment to our screens,” concluded Bush.

Chard said that Village Roadshow was doing everything it could to make sure the Australian consumer was encouraged to buy digital, particularly in that rental space.

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