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Fox Expands VOD Pact with iNDemand

6 May, 2002 By: Holly J. Wagner

On the heels of its abrupt exit from the movies.com joint venture with The Walt Disney Co., 20th Century Fox Entertainment has expanded its deal to provide content to cable video-on-demand (VOD) provider iNDemand.

“Video on demand is an exciting new medium that offers great benefits for consumers," said Peter Levinsohn, EVP Worldwide Pay Television and Pay-Per-View, 20th Century Fox Film Corp. "We are very pleased to be expanding our existing relationship with iN DEMAND to include these rights and to work with them and other VOD platforms to develop the consumer VOD experience through joint marketing efforts."

The deal covers new releases including Behind Enemy Lines, Shallow Hal and the animated blockbuster comedy Ice Age. iN DEMAND will also have VOD rights to select titles in the Twentieth Century Fox film library.

“This agreement with 20th Century Fox marks another significant piece in the VOD platform we're establishing on behalf of our affiliates," said iN DEMAND EVP Rob Jacobson. "20th Century Fox is one of the world's leading providers of movies and entertainment and having this type of long-term relationship is naturally very important to us."

Fox's departure from the Movies.com venture triggered industry speculation that Disney is dragging its digital feet and Fox wanted to get into the VOD market faster.

U.S cable operators are aggressively moving forward to make their cable plants VOD eady, as VOD is expected to become a major driver of digital cable. According to Kagan World Media, U.S. cable systems now serve about 20 million digital customers. Three million of those cable digital households have the capability of instantly ordering a VOD program with VCR-like functionality. By the end of 2003, Kagan projects digital cable customers are expected to reach 35.4 Million and VOD-enabled customers are expected to reach 8.8 Million.

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