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Warner Bros to debut online film service in Europe

Warner Bros. is the second studio to make movies available online in Europe, following in Universal's footsteps.

According to industry newspaper Variety, the Hollywood studio has struck a deal with Dutch company Free Record Shop to sell films online day-and-date with their DVD release, starting this week with nearly 100 titles, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Movies will be available in the Netherlands and Dutch-speaking parts of Belgium for €9.99-€14.99. Warner Bros will add more new and library films to the service going forward.

Last week, Universal signed a deal with UK DVD-by-mail company Lovefilm to sell permanent digital downloads along with DVDs for one price.

Warner Bros previously announced a deal to sell movies online in Germany via a P2P service run by Bertelsmann subsidiary Arvato, but that service launches later in April.

The studio's Dutch offering debuts 4 April, making it the first to sell movie files via the Web.

Previously, studio films have been available online only for rental in the video-on-demand window. Permanent downloads are gaining momentum, however, and are expected to launch in the U.S. soon.

Story filed 03.04.06

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