Cablevision to air some movies on DVD release day

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cablevision Systems Corp said on Monday it would offer U.S. consumers the option of seeing a movie via its on-demand service, as long as they agreed to pay for a DVD.

The service, called “Popcorn DVDs On Demand,” would allow Cablevision’s 2 million digital subscribers to order a DVD via their remote control and watch the movie immediately in the first 24 hours following the purchase.

One of the first movies available on February 19 will be “American Gangster,” starring Denzel Washington and nominated for two Academy Awards.

Cable TV operators typically have agreements with major Hollywood studios to air current movies about 30 to 45 days after DVD sales or rental outlets like Blockbuster Inc.. This window is in turn usually about three- to four-months after the original theatrical release.

Popcorn On Demand is a partnership between Cablevision and privately held Popcorn Home Entertainment, which has distribution agreements with Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros.

The new releases will be available for $19.95 plus shipping.

U.S. cable companies have called for studios to reduce or close the window between a theatrical release and being aired on TV.

Theater owners have resisted such efforts. Movie studios, which make most of their profit from DVDs, want a narrower window that would bring earnings forward and reduce the need for a second advertising campaign when a film is ready for home distribution.

Reporting by Yinka Adegoke