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In Demand Signs DreamWorks

In Demand last week added another studio to its video-on-demand content portfolio by reaching a long-term output deal with DreamWorks SKG.

The deal calls for In Demand to distribute DreamWorks movie product on a VOD basis. That includes such blockbusters as Shrek, which becomes available on Jan. 14, and the upcoming titles Evolution, the Curse of the Jade Scorpion, The Last Castle
and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

The pact follows output deals with several other studios, including Sony Corp.'s Columbia Tri-Star Pictures, Universal Pictures and Artisan Entertainment. Studio VOD deals are critical for operators as they look to recoup millions of dollars worth of costly digital equipment they're currently rolling out to consumers.

In Demand and Intertainer Inc. are vying to be the industry's main supplier of VOD content.

Diva Systems Corp. announced last December that it plans to exit the content-aggregation business. It will stop offering VOD content to affiliates by midyear.

"We are excited to be able to further our strategic relationship with DreamWorks. This agreement reinforces In Demand's strategy to support the ongoing rollout of cable VOD, affording an even wider selection of compelling and engaging entertainment," said In Demand executive vice president Robert Jacobson in a statement.

"Video-on-demand is a promising distribution medium offering viewers convenience, choice and control," DreamWorks head of television distribution Hal Richardson said, also in a statement. "With new advancements in delivery technologies, DreamWorks is now in a position to license our content to VOD platforms like In Demand, giving us the ability to explore new business opportunities, in addition to expanding our existing PPV licensing arrangement with them."

In addition to the studio deals, In Demand has broadened its VOD offerings through content agreements with Hallmark Entertainment, ESPN, Court TV, Comedy Central and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. channels Turner Network Television and Cartoon Network.