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Image Entertainment Readies VOD content

8 Mar, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Image Entertainment has made about 150 largely music and comedy titles available for video-on-demand (VOD) on the Internet — not cable — through its subsidiary Egami Media.

Chatsworth, Calif.-based Egami — formed to help Image better exploit its inventory through burgeoning digital distribution channels — expects to have the entire 3,000-title Image catalog on tap by 2006.

Last month, Egami signed a non-exclusive distribution deal with Akimbo Systems, a San Mateo, Calif.-based digital video recorder service that allows subscribers with broadband access the ability to store up to 200 hours of programming on a proprietary ($229.99) player for viewing on a TV, PC or home entertainment network.

Initial Image titles on Akimbo include music DVD and documentary releases from Heart, Yes, The Roots, The Knack, Berlin, Peter Frampton, Ziggy Marley, The Ramones, MC5, Macy Gray and Tupac.

Other DVD titles include stand-up comedy specials from Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and Eddie Griffin, and several Imax films.

Downloading a title to own costs the same as a DVD. Akimbo's monthly per-per-view fee is $9.99 (free until April 1) or $169.99 for a lifetime subscription.

“As other business models or methods of digital consumption become available, [Egami] will follow suit,” said Burgess Wilson, VP, business development with Image.

Wilson said many of those “methods” are starting to come to fruition, and electronic and PC manufacturers and consumers ultimately will define how media is consumed.

He said this year will continue to see technology and media companies “dabble” with distribution experimentation to see what models the consumer accepts and responds to.

“It is a period of slow growth,” Wilson said. “I don't expect 2005 is going to see dramatic increases in [online VOD], we are looking more toward 2006 and beyond to start seeing some real numbers coming from consumption on the Internet.”

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