BT has launched a service offering customers free film downloads. The catch? You'll have to watch adverts. (Personally, I go to the cinema only to watch the trailers.)
BT Vision has hooked up with Intel, Hiro Media and FremantleMedia Enterprises to offer punters a three-month trial of the service. BT Vision Download Store customers will be handed the choice of three films, and they won't have to shell out a bean (except for nachos and beer, obviously). The BT Vision Download Store is available to all broadband users in the UK, irrespective of their ISP. Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news and reviews.
When customers rent a film, they have to download (free) software from Hiro Media, and accept advert-supported video download technology on their PC. What might be slightly more disconcerting for some folk is the fact that freebie-loving downloaders are then asked to provide anonymous demographic information. This is so that the software can select adverts most suited to the person watching the movie.
Now I'm an attention-seeking hack, prepared to flaunt my details to all and sundry, but early adopters tend to be a tad tight-fisted with their 'demographic information'. And is one of the questions: 'how much do you earn'? If so, I have a nasty feeling that I'll be served up the sort of adverts you see during the day on Freeview channels. You know, the ones where stupid poor people talk about how great it is to be chained to a loan shark for the next several millennia.
Once a given film is downloaded, it will be available for a month. Different adverts will be shown at each viewing, which is something to look forward to. And you can even send films to friends via email.
Ad-supported media that's free at the point of sale is fast becoming a favourite of content providers. After all, if you give something away for free, people are unlikely to flog pirate copies. See: 'Get laptops, broadband and software for free!' for more on the perils and pitfalls of grabbing such fun freebies.