Hollywood Movie Studios Hit Back in DVD War

The studios claim the poll saying consumers want to download DVDs is biased.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

It didn't take long for Hollywood movie studios, represented by the powerful Motion Picture Association of America, to hit back at a poll in Whispers yesterday from a consumers group that said most Americans want to download DVDs. The studios' claim: The poll was bought and paid for by download advocates, calling into question the survey's findings. At issue is a battle in California courts between RealNetworks, which wants to sell a package that would let DVD consumers download movies to their computer hard drives, and studio execs and their representatives who call that piracy. Yesterday, we ran a poll from the National Consumers League that said some 90 percent of consumers want the new technology, called RealDVD, to let them get around security and encryption on DVDs and download them to computer hard drives. Today, MPAA hit back, correctly noting that the survey was partly funded by RealNetworks, as you can see from this line in the release:

"For complete survey results, including an executive summary and a copy of the questionnaire, visit www.nclnet.org. The National Consumers League thanks RealNetworks for the unrestricted educational grant that made this survey possible."

Said Angela Belden Martinez, MPAA's vice president for corporate communications, "We didn't need RealNetworks—who is in the fight of its life to defend its illegal RealDVD product in federal court—to sponsor a poll telling us that consumers of entertainment want to enjoy content when, where, and how they want it. The creators of film and television shows are energized by the opportunities that new technologies offer to consumers and have been tirelessly working in collaboration with innovators to deliver them. This includes the streaming of entire popular programs on successful sites like Hulu, one-click downloadable movies on iTunes, and capabilities that enable customers to keep a free and legal digital copy of their DVDs. We will work with anyone who can continue to help creators use new technologies that exceed consumer expectations and ensure a sustainable model that supports even greater creativity in the future."

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