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Warner, LoveFilm Ink Expansive U.K. Distribution Deal

17 Nov, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Agreement with Amazon’s European rental subsidiary highlights Warner’s new proprietary subscription video-on-demand service, WarnerFilms

Warner Bros. Nov. 17 said it signed a multifaceted distribution agreement with LoveFilm — the Amazon-owned movie rental rival to Netflix in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Under terms of the deal, LoveFilm customers will have access to myriad Warner movies and TV shows through by-mail DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals, download-to-own and Warner’s nascent SVOD service, WarnerFilms. Rental discs will be available 60 days after the title’s retail street date — underscoring the studio’s recent decision to promote sellthrough and cloud-based digital locker UltraViolet by lengthening from 28 days access to its content in the rental window.

WarnerFilms offers SVOD access to 28 movies at a time, with seven new titles added each week.

Movies available at the start of the deal in December include The Dark Knight, The Hangover, Gran Torino and Sex and the City 2, among others.

Separately, Warner is launching a second window pay-TV deal in the United Kingdom whereby recent and forthcoming studio titles will be released to LoveFilm’s Watch Online platform and accessed via LoveFilm’s proprietary player, Sony's PlayStation 3, Apple's iPad, connected Blu-ray Disc players, HDTVs and, later this year, Microsoft's Xbox 360.

“This significant deal with LoveFilm and its parent company Amazon takes a 360-degree approach to delivering Warner Bros.’ world-class movies across multiple business lines,” Josh Berger, president and managing director of Warner Bros. U.K., Ireland and Spain, said in a statement.

LoveFilm, which has more than 70,000 titles across disc, video games and streaming, currently has 1.8 million members and also operates in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

Netflix, which last month said it would bow streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning in the first quarter, has aggressively sought content license deals for the region, including an agreement this week with Miramax.

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