In Demand L.L.C., which has struggled to secure critical video-on-demand
distribution deals with the major Hollywood studios, has reached an output
agreement with independent producer Artisan Entertainment.
Although most industry observers don't consider Artisan to be one of the
front-line Hollywood studios, the deal does get pay-per-view distributor In
Demand -- the business plan of which depends on being cable operators' primary
conduit for VOD product -- into the high-stakes game of VOD film
Representatives from both In Demand and Artisan would not comment on the
deal. But sources familiar with the arrangement said In Demand will have VOD
rights to approximately 10 of Artisan's upcoming theatrical films over the next
That group includes Made (with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn) and
Novocaine (with Steve Martin). The titles will be serviced by In Demand
analog and digital technology.
The pact also allows In Demand to select titles from Artisan's 6,700-movie
library. The independently owned studio's biggest hit to date was 1999
blockbuster The Blair Witch Project, but it has also distributed several
other modest box-office successes, including Stir of Echoes and Dr. T
and the Women.
Through acquisitions, Artisan's archives also comprise such titles as
Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Total Recall, Basic Instinct,
Dirty Dancing and It's a Wonderful Life.
The deal would give In Demand its first multiyear VOD-output agreement with
any film studio. Owned and operated by AT&T Broadband, Time Warner Cable,
Cox Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp., the service has obtained VOD rights
to distribute programming from basic networks such as Comedy Central, Courtroom
Television Network and the Turner Broadcasting System Inc. networks.
But it has failed to secure rights to top Hollywood movie product, which most
observers believe will be the main revenue driver for the new technology.
Meanwhile, In Demand competitors Intertainer Inc. and Diva Systems Corp. have
been able to strike VOD deals with Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Universal
Studios. Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista Television and Sony Pictures have
refused to offer any of their recent releases for VOD