Film download prices 'to be determined by screen size'

image copyrightThinkstock
image captionThe smaller the screen the cheaper the cost to watch a movie in future, Mr Katzenberg suggested

The cost of watching a newly released film will depend upon the size of the screen on which it is viewed in future, the head of Dreamworks Animation says.

Those who watched on a "movie screen" would pay the most while those using smartphones would only pay a small fee, Jeffrey Katzenberg said.

This pricing model will be common in 10 years' time, he told a US conference.

But one commentator suggested it would be tricky to accurately identify the precise size of the devices used.

Mr Katzenberg - who runs a studio that has produced movies such as Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda - was speaking at the Milken Global Conference in California.

This bills itself as a forum for people to find solutions to challenges in business, as well as other areas.

"Movies are not a growth business," Mr Katzenberg told delegates.

Technical hurdles

Referring to the way films are distributed after their initial cinema release, he said: "I think the model will change and you won't pay for the window of availability.

"A movie will come out and you will have 17 days - that's exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionJeffrey Katzenberg set out his vision for the future of film releases

"On the 18th day, these movies will be available everywhere ubiquitously and you will pay for the size," he said.

The pricing model he suggested was $15 (£9) per film for a movie-sized screen, $4 (£2.40) for a 75in (190cm) TV and $1.99 (£1.20) for a smartphone.

Typically film studios have around three months to show a film in the cinema before it is released for distribution on other media channels.

"It will reinvent the enterprise of movies," he said.

Greg Maffei, chief executive of TV distributor Liberty Media Corp, agreed with Mr Katzenberg.

"Few networks are impacted by technology more than the media business," he said.

But technology website The Verge thought the idea faced some technical hurdles.

"Given the diversity of video streaming options available today, it's hard to imagine a security system that would reliably recognise the exact size of the screen it's being displayed on," wrote commentator Vlad Slavov.

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