Buena Vista to Experiment with Windows


Buena Vista Television will offer a variety of pay-per-view
windows for several late-summer and early fall titles.

At least two studio titles will feature the controversial
early-window-guarantee option, while at least one top title will have a rare 30-day
window, Buena Vista Pay TV vice president and general manager Dan Cohen said.

The studio will offer its Enemy of the State and Shakespeare
in Love
titles via the early window guarantee. Operators anteing up around a 20
percent buy-rate guarantee for Enemy ($111 million at the box office) will be able
to distribute the film 27 days before its Aug. 27 analog-PPV release date.

Viewer's Choice, DirecTV Inc. and TVN Entertainment Corp.
have all paid for the early window.

Distributors, however, will have to pay an even higher
guarantee for Shakespeare, although it's unclear what the exact price for the
window will be. But the movie's early September window is only 30 days after its
home-video run. Most early window titles carry at least a 45-day window, including Enemy.

Despite criticism from PPV executives, who said the early
window hurts the category, Cohen said the studio would continue to offer the option.

Thus far, he added, Buena Vista's last early window title, The
, has performed well in the digital-PPV window. But he would not say if it
distributors were able to match the 20 percent guarantee.

"From the early numbers I've seen, it seems like the
movie has held its own, and it looks like it will perform well," Cohen said.

The studio, however, will continue to look for ways to
shorten the traditional PPV window. Cohen said Buena Vista will offer one major fall title
with a 45-day PPV window and yet another with an unusually short 30-day window, although
he would not reveal the titles.

"We will continue to deliver good windows, but the
guarantee will continue to be part of our business plan," he added.