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Studios Back PTA, Boys & Girls Club Digital Video Service

21 May, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), Parent Teacher Association (PTA) together with Hewlett-Packard (HP) and major studios May 21 launched the first-of-its-kind digital video service featuring age-appropriate movie downloads and DVDs.

The sites, www.ptavideostore.com and www.bgcavideostore.com, offer family-oriented interfaces showcasing more than 10,000 movies (including Blu-ray) and TV shows from $4.99 that can be purchased with a gift or credit card.

Movie titles (restricted to G, PG and PG-13 ratings) include Alvin & The Chipmunks, Bee Movie, Enchanted, Nancy Drew and National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets; TV titles include Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 3 — Fire, Sponge Bob Square Pants: Pest of the West and Speed Racer the Next Generation: The Beginning, among others.

For an additional fee ($20-to-$30), content can be burned to a blank DVD playable on a PC only. Gift cards can be purchased on the sites from $25 and are slated to be available at Circuit City and Office Depot, among other locations.

The sites were created by Harmony Digital Media Consortium, which specializes in the development fundraising initiatives for nonprofit groups, together with support from the Motion Picture Association of America.

“This program extends our vision by providing a secure environment for youth to enjoy entertainment that is appropriate for them, while raising funds for important programs that benefit youth in cities across the country,” said Cyndi Court, SVP, resource development, BGCA.

The sites offer explanations about how movie ratings relate to children. Proceeds from purchases on the sites are earmarked to support child-focused work undertaken by both organizations.

“We at PTA want to encourage families to make informed media choices and have a dialogue with their children,” said Betsy Landers, national secretary/treasurer, PTA. “This is a tool to do that.”

Willem de Zoete, VP and GM, digital content services with HP, said streaming requires installation of free software and can be viewed as it downloads. He said the content, which is in a Windows media file format, could also be viewed on a Web-enabled HP television and the Microsoft Xbox 360.

De Zoete said the HP technology supporting the sites is similar to what Wal-Mart used when it briefly operated a streaming service.

“We have always believed in the combination of DVD and downloading,” he said. “They will be in the future.”

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