Cablevision, Popcorn offer instant-gratification DVDs

Mon Feb 4, 2008 8:02am EST

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Cablevision Systems and Popcorn Home Entertainment are set to unveil a first-of-its-kind service on Monday (February 4) that enables cable subscribers to watch new-release movies on demand with the purchase of the DVD.

Using their remote control, New York-based Cablevision's 3 million subscribers can order movie DVDs from a screen menu that offers 24-hour video-on-demand access. The discs are shipped directly to the subscriber.

New releases cost $19.95 plus shipping, and library titles range from $9.95 to $15.95 plus shipping.

Popcorn will ship Universal's Oscar-nominated "American Gangster" with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe day-and-date with VOD access on February 19. Other Universal titles available include "Eastern Promises," "The Kingdom," "The Bourne Ultimatum" and "Sydney White."

The Los Angeles-based company also has an agreement with Warner Bros. for select titles, CEO Steve Brenner said. "We are selling DVD over a VOD platform," Brenner said.

He said Popcorn's business plan to distribute packaged media differs from ongoing studio cable VOD/DVD tests, which Brenner considers an alternative rental model.

"We are selling DVDs where the studio gets substantially more revenue than renting a movie," he said. "We are in the business of selling DVDs."

Brenner, who headed USA Network for nearly 20 years, said that cable VOD historically has sputtered in large part because of the divergent interests of cable operators and the studios.

"Their economic interests are not united on this," he said. "In the end, the studio's interest is in selling the DVD. This is a very easy value proposition (for them)."

He declined to discuss details of the revenue split among Cablevision, the studios and Popcorn.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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