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Disney's Iger, Viacom's Daumann Tout VOD

28 May, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger and Viacom Inc. CEO Philippe Daumann both promoted video-on-demand efforts at the Sanford Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York last week.

Daumann extolled the virtues of his company's new VOD venture that will distribute films from Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate across multiple channels post-theatrical. He said Cloverfield would be the first film to be distributed under the new venture in November, but didn't offer details on distribution channels. MGM and Lionsgate content would follow in 2009, he said. The venture promises high-def, mobile and Internet distribution.

“There's nothing like owning your content and controlling your destiny,” he said. “And we own a hell of a lot of content.

“We had this unique opportunity to look at that window (post-theatrical) … and not deal with a middle man. We assured ourselves revenue with all the new technology. This service will be available on the very first day these movies come out … we have never seen this much interest so quickly at the senior level from distributors.”

The venture is widely regarded as leverage against Showtime Networks, whose deal for post-theatrical distribution with the studios expires Jan. 1, 2009.

Iger, meanwhile, said programming networks need to adapt to changing times and changing distribution methods by providing more VOD options.

“I actually believe that consumers, particularly young consumers, are going to be much less tolerant of basically accessing or getting programming in a linear form on a traditional network, and much more demanding of the product that they get in a video-on-demand form, meaning individually,” he said. “And if you're not in that space, you get marginalized. You have to be there.”

Iger went on to say that VOD should eventually be fully day-and-date with DVD, and distributors should offer not only new releases, but also as much catalog as possible.

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