In Demand, New Line Ink VOD Deal

In Demand continued to round out its video-on-demand roster last week, when the content purveyor agreed to a long-term contract with New Line Cinema.

That AOL Time Warner Inc.-owned studio joins Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Universal Studios, 20th Century-Fox, Columbia TriStar, DreamWorks SKG and Artisan Entertainment in signing multiyear VOD output deals with In Demand.

New Line, whose recent box office hits include The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
and Austin Powers in Goldmember, will make its movies available to In Demand VOD affiliates beginning in October.

Next month, In Demand will begin offering New Line titles that represent roughly $500 million in box office revenue, including John Q, Rings
and Blade II, said senior vice president of programming and development Dan York.

While specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, sources said operators would receive the standard 40 percent split of VOD revenue. In Demand could also offer New Line titles as early as 40 days after the home-video release.

Traditionally, PPV windows don't open until 50 to 60 days after the home video-period. But those spans have recently shifted in PPV's favor as operators roll out expanded PPV and VOD channels.

Nonetheless, the studios remain leery about drastically improving PPV windows for fear of curtailing home-video revenues, which are significantly higher than PPV returns.

"Video-on-demand is an exciting new medium that offers great benefits for consumers," New Line Television senior executive vice president of domestic television distribution and marketing David Spiegelman said. "We are very pleased to be expanding our existing relationship with In Demand to include these rights and to work with them to develop the consumer VOD experience through joint marketing efforts."

Similarly, the content purveyor is excited about broadening its VOD roster.

"In Demand is delivering more than 75 percent of studio product via VOD, and this deal cements In Demand's premiere leadership position in the delivery of VOD content, as well as distribution," York said.

Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista Television and Warner Bros. remain the last holdouts for In Demand, although Warner Bros. is offering In Demand VOD titles on an individual basis.

Paramount and Warner Bros. — along with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Studios — plan to offer VOD movie titles beginning in November via the Internet through a co-owned venture called Movielink.

Warner Bros. is also offering its titles through the CinemaNow Internet movie-distribution service.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.