Posts Tagged ‘Paramount’

Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Hollywood Video-On-Demand joint venture

“We’re exploring our options, so it’s not surprising there are rumors out there”, says a Blockbuster spokeswoman.

Report: Blockbuster in talks to join Viacom-led Video-On-Demand JVThe latest rumor, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, is that the company best known for its ‘bricks and mortar’ video rental business wants to join the recently announced Hollywood joint venture, led by Viacom, to create a new premium TV channel and Video-On-Demand (VOD) service. The other existing partners are Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate.

In return for investing, Blockbuster would get digital rights to the new channel’s programming, “people familiar with the situation” told the WSJ.

Blockbuster is an obvious possible partner. It used to be owned by Viacom, whose executives know its business well. Blockbuster also has been casting its net wide for new partners as it attempts to spruce up its video-rental business model with new digital ventures. Last year, it acquired Internet movie provider Movielink to offer video-download services to customers, and it has focused on forging exclusive content deals for its various services.

Ironically, the Viacom-led joint venture is already being compared negatively to the original Movielink service, which started life in 2002 as a joint venture between Paramount, Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and MGM, but failed to resonate with users. Last August Movielink was acquired by Blockbuster.

Huh? Motorola rumored to be planning movie download service for its mobile devices

Note to Motorola: Forget about the movies. Concentrate on getting cool new phones on the market. Otherwise, the movies won’t matter.

According to UK magazine New Media Age (via MocoNews and Ars Technica), troubled Motorola is rumored to be planning a movie service for its mobile devices. So far, only Paramount has licensed content to Motorola, but the phone maker is supposedly working out deals with other studios.

There are few details: no name for the service, no pricing, no idea if movies are for rent or purchase or both, if there is any DRM in place (we suspect so), or an official release date. The service may be available by the end of May.

Users will not be able to download movies directly to their phones. They’ll have to download flicks first to their PCs and then sync, or “sideload”, the content to their mobile devices. This doesn’t sound very inventive to us.

In fact, it sounds downright weird, all things considered. Does Motorola really think that offering a movie service that’s a semi-hassle to manage will entice more people to buy their phones? Is this the way Motorola plans to erase that $1.2 billion operating loss last year, or get investors excited when the company splits its mobile division from the rest of the company?

Our advice: Worry about getting cool new phones on the market to compete with Nokia, Apple, Samsung, LG, and the highly-anticipated Google-powered Android phones. Otherwise, Motorola has bigger problems than the latest Hollywood releases.

Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate form 'game changing' joint venture

If you were going to announce a new ‘game changing’ joint venture involving four leading Hollywood studios, you wouldn’t choose to do it on a Sunday, right? Because that’s precisely what Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate have done, with their newly formed premium TV channel and VOD service, which will be rolled out in the fall of 2009.

While details given in the press release are thin on the ground, plastered over by a very generous helping of hyperbole, the yet-to-be named “Innovative Premium Entertainment Service” will offer new and classic feature films and original TV programing from each of the studios involved, and in what looks like a major shake up of the traditional U.S. pay TV market (lookout HBO, Showtime and Starz), the joint venture will have first access to upcoming films such as “Iron Man,” “Star Trek,” “The Pink Panther 2,” “Cloverfield” and “Robocop.” The combined back catalog will also cover classic hits such as “Dirty Dancing,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Crash,” “Braveheart,” “Forrest Gump,” the “Godfather” series and the Rocky and James Bond franchises, notes Hollywood Reporter.

However, of more significance to last100, the new joint venture will have a strong online component, according to an interview given to paidContent by Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman: “As we go forward and make further announcements, you will see that this will be oriented toward the consumer. It will also meet the needs of varying distributors and take advantage of online distribution…innovative both in presenting the content and in distributing it.” Dauman says that the joint venture will enable the studios involved to have greater control over their own destiny compared to traditional distribution deals, in terms of what they can and can’t offer online during competing release windows. This suggests to me that we may see paid-for downloads of premium content offered at the same time as pay TV.

Catching up on iTunes news: NBC wants back on iTunes, but with conditions

Catching up on iTunes with NBC Universal, Fox and Paramount, Amazon MP3, and Starbucks.

NBC wants back on iTunes, but with conditions

George Kliavkoff, NBC Universal’s chief digital officer, indicated indirectly and directly at the Ad: Tech conference that NBC would like to be back on iTunes, which the network dumped in late 2007 over a nasty public spat about pricing.

kliavkoffIndirectly, Kliavkoff said during an on-stage interview at the conference, “If you look at studies about MP3 players, especially leading MP3 players and what portion of that content is pirated, and think about how that content gets onto that device, it has to go through a gate-keeping piece of software, which would be a convenient place to put some anti-piracy measures.”

Directly, Kliavkoff said, “We’d love to be on iTunes”, but only if Apple institutes more anti-piracy measures. “It has a great customer experience,” he said. “We’ve love to figure out a way to distribute our content on iTunes.”

The timing is interesting. iTunes is now the largest music retailer, and while the video side of the store (TV shows and movies) has not reached the same level, it still benefits from the overall iTunes brand and music traffic. Since NBC bolted, no other major network or studio has followed, leaving NBC standing alone.

Think NBC regrets its decision?

If it does, NBC doesn’t appear to be budging. In addition to the extra anti-piracy protection, the network would also like to see flexible pricing on iTunes, which doesn’t seem to be likely anytime soon.

(via and NewTeeVee)

Photo credit of Kliavkoff: at Ad:Tech

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