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Starz Encore, RealNetworks Launch Joint Online Movie Service

14 Jun, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

RealNetworks and Starz Encore have launched their joint online movie service, first announced in December 2002, but delayed until broadband hit critical mass.

The partnership will charge $12.95 per month for access to about 100 downloadable, copy-protected movies. About one-quarter of the slate will change each week, the company said.

Studios supplying films to Starz Ticket on Real Movies include Disney, Universal, MGM, Sony, Fox, New Line, Revolution Studios and Miramax. The service will also let subscribers access a streamed version of the Starz linear service, marking the first time a premium movie channel has been delivered simultaneously over broadband.

“Starting today, Starz and Real are delivering a breakthrough service that gives broadband consumers a new way to watch movies whenever and wherever they want,” said Rob Glaser, RealNetworks founder and CEO.

“In the cable and satellite world, the ‘all you can eat' subscription businessmodel has proven to be much more popular than the transactional pay-per-view model,” said Starz chairman and CEO, John J. Sie. “We are pleased to bring consumers Starz Ticket on Real Movies, which we believe will fit wellwith subscribers' viewing habits and drive deployment of high-speed broadband services.”

Although studio-backed Movielink offers movie downloads on a PPV basis, CinemaNow, which gets backing from Blockbuster and Lions Gate Entertainment, has offered subscriptions for some time. The site offers premium subscriptions for $9.95 a month, or $49.95 a year, and expanded “premium+” subscriptions for $29.95 a month or $99.95 a year. CinemaNow is also the only one of the three services to offer download-to-burn on some titles and the only one that offers adult product.

The service is available to consumers in the United States with broadband connection speeds of at least 600 Kbps, but at minimum speed the films may take hours to download.

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