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CinemaNow to Offer Fox Download-to-Own Content

13 Jun, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CinemaNow Tuesday announced it had signed a license agreement with 20th Century Fox Entertainment Group to offer upwards of 200 select movies and television shows for download-to-own.

Initial Fox titles — which include the right to burn a backup copy playable on Microsoft Windows Media-compatible devices and not standard-DVD players — include The Ringer, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Family Stone.

TV fare includes the first seasons of “24,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Firefly” and “Lost in Space.” Other content features FX's quirky comedy “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Fuel TV's “First Hand” and Speed's “Pinks.”

Movies range in price from $9.95 for catalog to $19.95 for new releases. TV episodes retail for $1.99 each.

“Our goal is to accommodate our customers wherever they are,” said Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Digital Media.

CinemaNow — founded in 1999 by Lionsgate, Blockbuster, and Microsoft, among other investors — in April launched its download-to-own service, which includes content from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, MGM, Lionsgate, Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

Bruce Eisen, president of CinemaNow, said inclusion of Fox TV fare is significant considering the service's heightened interest in the genre.

“We're making a concerted effort to get more of the current broadcast or cable network shows,” said Eisen. “Warner was the first and now Fox gives us content from several key networks.”

Eisen said consumer response to download-to-own has been “in line with our expectations,” despite the fact he thinks new-movie prices are twice what they should be.

“That's too high, but when we do promotions and discounts, usage increases significantly,” said Eisen. “For TV episodes, $1.99 an episode seems to be the right price.”

Eisen said he sees movie prices coming down eventually, considering their comparison to DVD unit pricing and that bonus material and physical properties of DVDs make it a more compelling purchase than downloading.

“From what we are seeing from our users, you price [a movie] at $10 and it is very popular,” Eisen said.

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