News

Studios Offering More Titles for VOD

5/28/2000 8:00 PM Eastern

Movie studios are beginning to offer more of their first run pay-per-view and library titles to Time Warner Cable's aggressive commercial video-on-demand service.

Time Warner's Oceanic Cable system in Honolulu has gone from offering 10 VOD movies at its initial commercial deployment last January to about 30 this month, system marketing director Allan Akamine said.

The number of participating studios has also increased significantly since the initial launch and now includes Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Universal Studios, Artisan, Buena Vista and 20th Century Fox.

The system-which is offering digital services in about 11 percent of its 250,000 homes-will offer such recognizable box-office titles in the next few months as The Sixth Sense, Next Friday, The Green Mile, Driving Me Crazy and Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Akamine said.

Most of the movies will be offered during their regular PPV windows, although Time Warner is negotiating with the studios to exhibit films simultaneously with their home-video windows.

In addition, Warner Bros. for the first time will make several of its library titles available on a VOD basis to Oceanic, including movies like A Clockwork Orange, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ace Ventura, Beetlejuice and Conspiracy Theory.

For the library titles, Akamine said, the system will most likely offer a discounted price of $1.95 instead of the regular $3.95 retail price in an effort to entice buys.

While the hardware is working effectively, Akamine added, the quality of the system's VOD content will inevitably determine how successful a business VOD will become.

"We've been tweaking the nuts and bolts of the system. Now the task is to secure content because content is king." he said. "We're very encouraged with how the studios are taking notice and supplying us with their titles."

Studio executives have confirmed that Time Warner is currently looking to secure the same early windows for its VOD service that the home-video industry currently enjoys. The MSO has already reached a distribution agreement with New Frontier Media's Pleasure adult pay-per-view service to provide up to 30 movie titles per month for the VOD systems.

"I think [VOD] is a new business, so the studios are being cautious. There's a lot of revenue to protect on both the home-video and theatrical side," Akamine said. "But as they begin to feel confident about VOD, hopefully, they'll be more willing to participate."

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