The movie industry might like sequels, but few studio moguls want a reprise of the music business' horror flick. Call it The Download from Hell. Music labels saw sales plummet by 7% last year as pirates downloaded songs for free. To avoid a repeat in their industry, the major studios called upon Jim Ramo, a 56-year-old former cable exec, to run their film download site. Ramo got out ahead of the pirates by launching Movielink last November with five partners -- Paramount, Universal, MGM, Warner Brothers, and Sony -- and recently added Disney flicks.
Ramo offers movies for $2.95 to $4.99 a pop, rather than monthly fees as the music biz did originally. He hopes to beat the ripoffs with discounts to college kids and new technology that speeds downloads. "We're offering bottled water in a world where water comes from the tap," he says. Keep adding hit films to the roster, and it could become known as The Web Site That Saved Hollywood.