Paramount Pictures -- one of the last studios to withhold its product from
video-on-demand platforms -- inked a long-term distribution agreement with In
Demand L.L.C. to offer its new and library titles on a VOD basis.
The nonexclusive deal is a major coup for In Demand and cable operators,
which have been completely shut out of product from the Viacom Inc.-owned
The new agreement covers such box-office hits as Star Trek: Nemesis,
The Wild Thornberrys Movie, Jackass: The Movie, Abandon
and The Four Feathers.
Terms were not disclosed, but sources said the studio would receive 60
percent of pay-per-view revenues from VOD buys, with In Demand and operators
sharing the remaining 40 percent.
In Demand president Steve Brenner did say there were a lot of
"digital-management issues" in the agreement, including digital copyright
protection, but he would not provide specific details.
"Paramount is a great studio, and it means that our shelves are fuller than
they've ever been," Brenner said. "This agreement with Paramount marks a
significant milestone in VOD and represents a very important moment for In
Demand and its cable affiliates, as well as for all of our VOD subscribers."
Paramount was considered by many to be the least likely major Hollywood
studio to take the VOD plunge due to Viacom blood ties to home-video giant and
VOD competitor Blockbuster Inc.
But in a statement, Paramount president of worldwide pay television Jack
Waterman called VOD an exciting new medium that offers tremendous convenience
"We're pleased to expand our relationship with In Demand and its affiliates
and, most important, to develop the VOD experience for consumers by offering
legitimate and secure access to our product," Waterman added.