Indie distributors jump into VOD
On behalf of independent film producers, Bruder Releasing and Cable Entertainment Distribution, two affiliated film distribution companies, have entered into a licensing agreement granting Spark Interactive permission to include the indies’ content in Spark’s broadband video-on-demand service. The agreement allows Spark to stream the films over broadband networks to viewers in hotels and homes. While Bruder Releasing distributes films in a large assortment of genres, Cable Entertainment’s business is limited to adult films. The two distributors are also in talks with several other broadband VOD service providers about similar arrangements.
Verizon Avenue backbone in place
Verizon Avenue, a unit of the Baby Bell telco parent that provides broadband service to multiple-dwelling apartment and condominium units, launched its new high-speed service for customers in several major cities late last month. Verizon, which has been in talks with all the major film studios in an effort to reach licensing agreements, hopes to offer video on demand through the new service later this year. Aside from the telco’s contentious negotiations with the majors, the company must also overcome legislative hurdles before the new initiative becomes successful. The 1996 Telecommunications Act limits the Baby Bells’ ability to offer advanced voice and data services until competitors emerge who can offer consumers alternatives. Critics of the 1996 legislative have charged that it has placed the telcos at a disadvantage relative to other media companies.
Luxsat peddling VOD platform
Luxsat, a media technology developer based in Luxembourg, is trying to license its satellite broadcasting technology for video-on-demand services to U.S. media companies. The European firm would provide VOD through a set-top box endowed with 150 megabytes of storage capacity, according to sources familiar with Luxsat. Viewers’ boxes would be refreshed with new content every several weeks.