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Digiboo Waxes Wireless With Movies

TARGETING TRAVELERS in need of an entertainment fi x when reliable, high-speed mobile connections are in scarce supply, a startup called Digiboo has launched a WiFi-enabled video download service in about 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada that, it claims, can deliver a 1.3 Gigabyte movie in three minutes or less.

Digiboo, which competes to a degree with InMotion Entertainment, the airport-based DVD retailer, has essentially created a private content-delivery network that relies on servers filled with movies that are installed at Digiboo-operated WiFi “zones.” Examples of Digiboo locations include Boise Airport, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Indianapolis International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and even a Pizza Hut in Madison, Wis.

Consumers can buy and rent titles at these dedicated Digiboo WiFi zones using the company’s mobile app. Executives said the service, which provides a dedicated, proprietary wireless connection, currently offers about 800 movies and 300 TV shows, including a rotating crop of new releases. Digiboo shares revenues with its studio and content partners.

“We’re trying to make the acquisition of digital entertainment the same impulse purchase as buying a magazine or candy bar at the airport,” Blake Thomas, Digiboo’s chief marketing officer, said.

Digiboo hopes to bring its platform to 2,000 locations over the next 12 months, and is also looking to expand beyond North America, Richard Cohen, CEO of Digiboo and the former president of MGM Home Entertainment and Consumer Products, said.

The cable industry has also been high on WiFi as an entertainment conduit — members of the “Cable WiFi” roaming alliance (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks) have deployed more than 400,000 hotspots so far.

Digiboo hasn’t engaged with that group, Cohen said, but his company is open to discussing potential partnerships.