Indie's shorts to be made available online

AtomFilms and Blockbuster Inc. pacted Thursday in a two-year deal that makes the Netcaster’s indie short films available on a co-branded section on blockbuster.com, as early as spring.

Not only is Blockbuster investing less than $10 million in Seattle-based AtomFilms, but under terms of the syndication deal, AtomFilms will provide both the pics and technology required to broadcast the films on Blockbuster’s Web site.

While receiving a fee for the pics, AtomFilms will also most likely net a cut of blockbuster.com’s ad dollars.

“This announcement is an exciting next step for Blockbuster as we continue to pursue avenues for our customers to receive quality, in-home entertainment through electronic delivery,” said Shellye Archambeau, prexy of blockbuster.com. “Blockbuster recognizes AtomFilms as a leading provider of online, streaming media and views this relationship as a unique opportunity to benefit from new content and expertise.”

Expanding ‘Net presence

Deal falls in line with Dallas-based Blockbuster’s attempts to grow beyond its brick-and-mortar vidstores and expand its stake in the electronic delivery of entertainment to homes.

For AtomFilms, agreement helps position its brand in front of millions of consumers and provides additional exposure to its filmmakers, something it has heavily focused on since bowing last year. Company syndicates its content to airlines, cable networks and has a channel on Time Warner’s hub entertaindom.com.

Last month, the leading vid-rental chain, with over 6,900 stores worldwide, pacted with digital video recorder maker TiVo Inc. to develop and deploy a video-on-demand service through TiVo’s set-top boxes. Shortly afterward, Blockbuster also inked a deal with MGM to test and develop a business model to offer the studio’s pics for digital downloads via TiVo, the Internet and other home delivery technologies.

Company also launched a multiyear strategic alliance with America Online to pursue high-speed Internet and delivery opportunities.

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