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Cablevision Offering DVD and VOD

4 Feb, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cablevision Systems Corp. and Popcorn Home Entertainment Feb. 4 is slated to unveil a first-of-a-kind service that lets cable subscribers watch new-release movies on demand (VOD) with the purchase of the DVD.

Once considered strange bedfellows, DVDs released simultaneously with a digital edition allow studios to prolong the lucrative packaged-media cash cow, say industry experts (see HM Jan. 27-Feb.2).

Using the remote control, New York-based Cablevision's 3 million subscribers can order the movie on DVD from a screen menu, which includes immediate 24-hour VOD 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 Feb. 19 ships Universal Pictures' Oscar-nominated American Gangster with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, day-and-date with VOD access. Other Universal titles include Eastern Promises, The Kingdom, The Bourne Ultimatum and Sydney White. Also on tap are select Warner Bros. titles, according to Popcorn CEO Steve Brenner.

“We are selling DVD over a VOD platform,” Brenner said.

He described the ongoing studio cable VOD-DVD tests as an alternative rental model, different from Popcorn's business plan to distribute packaged media. “We are selling DVDs where the studio gets substantially more revenue than renting a movie,” he said.

Brenner said cable VOD has historically sputtered due in large part to the divergent interests of cable operators and the studios.

“Their economic interests are not united on this,” he said. “The studio's interest is in selling the DVD.”

He declined to discuss the revenue split between the companies.

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