Fox testing HD movie downloads before disc releases

"Prometheus" will be the first film released through the new distribution tactic.

In an effort to maximize its profits, Fox is testing a new sales tactic: releasing movies through digital distribution weeks before they go on sale in disc formats. The movies will be released through UltraViolet, however, and not one of the more popular digital distribution systems, such as iTunes or Amazon. Fox is calling the new system "Digital HD." 

The New York Times reports the first title to be sold using this tactic will be "Prometheus," which will see an UltraViolet release on Sept. 18, ahead of its Oct. 11 release on other platforms. "Prometheus" will be sold for $15 through the service. Currently, similar releases are sold for $20. Other upcoming titles to be offered through the new tactic include "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "The Watch." The new sales system will be implemented simultaneously in about 50 countries.

This isn't the first time movie studios have attempted unique sales tactics in an effort to improve sales. Last year, Fox and other movie studios angered theater owners by offering movies through an on-demand service for $30 just two months after they were released in theaters.

Sales of home video formats have fallen dramatically in recent years, leading movie studios to attempt unique distribution paths in an effort to increase their bottom line. According to the New York Times, home video sales peaked in 2004 at $21.8 billion; last year home video sales generated $18.4 billion.

Source: The New York Times | Image via "Prometheus" Facebook

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