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Scooping the Studios, Intertainer Launches VOD Service in Top 35 Broadband Markets

17 Oct, 2001 By: Hive News

Intertainer Inc., an entertainment-on-demand broadband service, andMicrosoft Corp. said Wednesday that Intertainer'svideo-on-demand (VOD) subscription service is now available in the nation's top 35 broadband markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

With a catalog of Hollywood films, TV shows, music videos and concerts, Intertainer becomes the first company to offer a widely available VOD service for broadband-connected PCs featuring premium content delivered withbetter-than-VHS quality, according to a joint press release from Intertainer and Microsoft, the largest investor in privately held Intertainer.

The Intertainer service officially launches Wednesday at http://www.intertainer.tv.Later this month, Intertainer will be promoted through co-branded Web pages on the MSN network of Internet services.

"Video-on-demand is the future of personal entertainment, offering viewers unprecedented convenience, choice and control," said Jonathan Taplin, c.e.o. of Culver City, Ca.-based Intertainer. "With the industry-leading quality of Windows Media and MSN's unparalleled reach, Intertainer is bringing America into that futurewith a pervasive, fun and easy-to-use entertainment service."

"Intertainer has put all the pieces together to make video-on-demand work at last for home viewers," said Will Poole, v.p. of the WindowsDigital Media Division at Microsoft. "Intertainer's outstanding library offers the kind of top-tier entertainment people have been waiting for, and the technology is here today to deliver a great viewing experience."

The Intertainer library features more than 70,000 hours of content, including films from major Hollywood studios and a variety of television and music programming from more than 70 premium content providers. Intertainer content partners include Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Dreamworks SKG,Artisan Entertainment, New Line Cinema, NBC, A&E Television Networks, Discovery Channel, EMI Music, ESPN, PBS, Warner Music Group and others.

Content available now on the Intertainer service includes:

-- Major motion pictures including The Mexican, Fifteen Minutes, Blow, Miss Congeniality and Sweet November;

-- Broadcast TV programming including Ken Burns' "Baseball" documentary series, A&E's "Biography" series, episodes of "Saturday Night Live" and a variety of cooking, travel, fitness, education and do-it-yourself programs; and

-- Music videos and concerts from artists such as Fatboy Slim, Nine Inch Nails, Missy Elliot, Moby, Frank Sinatra, James Brown, Madonna, Miles Davis, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Radiohead and manyothers.

Intertainer charges about $8 per month for its basic programming service, plus pay-per-view fees of $2.99 to $3.99 per movie.

The studios will typically provide new releases to Intertainer 30 to 45 days after they appear in video stores, the same time they're made available to cable and satellite pay-per-view services. But deals vary, and Intertainer does not have automatic access to all of the studios' catalogs or current films.

Intertainer's service is delivered using Microsoft's Windows Media for enhanced viewing, and content is protected with WindowsMedia Digital Rights Management to give customers seamless access to theirvideo selections while protecting the rights of content owners.

All video content available through the Intertainer service is encoded at 500 Kbps using Windows Media Video 8 to deliver full-screen video. Intertainer content plays in an embedded Windows Media Player that offers full VCR functionality, allowing viewers to pause, rewind andfast-forward their video selections.

Beginning Oct. 25, Intertainer will be prominently featured on MSNEntertainment, ensuring great visibility for the service, since more than 10 million people visit MSN sites each month. Visitors to MSN will be able to easily access Intertainer's content through a co-branded video-on-demand page located within the movies section. Prominently featuring Intertainer, the co-branded page will provide MSN users the opportunity toview Intertainer content showcases as well as information on how to subscribe.

Microsoft will also feature promotional Intertainer content on WindowsMedia.com, a leading Internet guide to audio and video content.

Intertainer is working with network service providers such as Broadwing to provide users high-quality service. Broadwing's all-optical switched network provides the capacity and performance to handle high-quality streaming media.

Intertainer's subscription service begins with FirstPass, which givessubscribers unlimited access to a select library of premium television, lifestyle and children's programs, for only $7.99 per month. Programming is updated every week, creating a flow of new selections. Once users sign up for FirstPass, full-length feature films can be purchased on a pay-per-view basis. New-release titles are $3.99, library titles are $2.99 and music videos are free.

Internet subscribers with broadband connection speeds of at least 580 Kbps who reside in the country's top 35 broadband markets will be able to choose from the large selection of premium on-demand entertainment programming and watch instantly. Viewers can watch directly on a PC or on a television linked to a PC with an S-video cable or a wireless connection.

Intertainer will be available in the following cities: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; Salt Lake City; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle;St. Louis; Tampa, Fla. and Washington D.C.

The service features content from partners including Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., DreamWorks SKG, NewLine Cinema, A&E Networks, NBC, Discovery, ESPN, Pearson Television, Warner Music, EMI Music and many others.

Strategic partners include Comcast, Intel, Microsoft, NBC, Qwest and Sony.

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