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VOD Venture Changes Name, Taps CEO

29 Jan, 2002 By: Hive News

The five-studio joint venture to provide video-on-demand (VOD) has changed its name from the working title Moviefly to Movielink and named a chief executive officer.

The board of the venture among Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. tapped former cable and satellite executive Jim Ramo as CEO. He reports to a Board comprised of representatives from each of the five equity partners.

"Jim Ramo brings an exceptional combination of entrepreneurship, business acumen, technical expertise and knowledge of film distribution to the enterprise. He is uniquely qualified to lead this business as it opens an exciting, new, and convenient way for consumers to get the programming they want when they want it," the Board stated. "The selection of Jim as CEO and the Movielink name complete two critical next steps in the development of the service."

The venture, announced last August, will create an open-access Internet Protocol (IP)-based system for content delivery, although the board promises to explore "other means of delivery." The studios will supply movies to the service on a nonexclusive basis. Each content provider will independently determine its own release windows and pricing strategies. Movielink will be available only in the United States.

Most recently, Ramo was in residence at Shelter Ventures, consulting for various communications companies and initiating investment opportunities in new media for this $200 million fund.

Ramo has a M.S. degree from London School of Economics and a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley. He has two adult children dnd he and his wife and teenage daughter live in Los Angeles, where Movielink is headquartered.

"This is a unique moment in time as VOD infrastructure deployment is beginning to match the consumer's demand for ever greater convenience in viewing options, whether through cable, satellite or broadband Internet," said Ramo. "Movielink will make desirable and high quality feature film content available in a reliable and secure manner. The creation of Movielink demonstrates these studios' commitment to VOD as a growth opportunity and the Internet as a new channel of distribution."

"With more than 10 million broadband households in the country, the launch of home networking and the increasing threat of piracy, the studios believe the time is right to support the creation of a VOD digital distribution channel," said the board's statement. "Movielink will offer consumers a wide selection of recently released theatrical films as well as additional content from film libraries spanning all genres -- action, comedy, drama, family, children, foreign and classics. The service will also be available to other video and film producers and distributors who want to distribute their films to Movielink's consumer base."

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