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Fox Signs With Cinemanow.com

3 Apr, 2003 By: Joan Villa

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has linked with CinemaNow to make all its new releases available for online downloading in the pay-per-view window.

Fox is the second major studio signed by CinemaNow, which is majority-owned by Lions Gate Entertainment, following a similar movie downloading deal with Warner Bros. last September.

"We have long believed in the potential of the Internet as an effective system for delivering our movies,” noted Peter Levinsohn, Fox's EVP, worldwide pay television and PPV, in a statement. “Our agreement with CinemaNow not only provides our audience with a convenient way to access our movies, but it also allows us to offer our products and services in a way that enhances the viewing experience of our customers."

Levinsohn said this is “one more step” in Fox's efforts to deliver entertainment in formats consumers desire. With CinemaNow's proprietary copy protection system, he added that the partnership would “provide a legitimate alternative to combat the growing problem of online piracy, which has become the most critical issue facing our industry today.”

About four or five Fox movies each month will be available for downloading at $3.99 each, beginning with some already on video such as The Good Girl and Unfaithful. Going forward new release titles will be online the same day as PPV, according to CinemaNow EVP Bruce Eisen.

“Compared to traditional video, [Internet downloading] is not even a drop in the bucket,” he said. “For us, viewership has been going up, but compared to the millions of dollars DVD and video generates, this is immaterial.”

Eisen declined to say how many people download CinemaNow movies, although he said the site draws about one million visitors each month. The movies take about 45 minutes to an hour to download on a high-speed connection and must be watched online to verify the film is viewed and paid for within the designated time frame, he said.

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