Sony gives VOD nod to In Demand

Studio still part of joint venture to start Net-based system

Sony has joined Universal in granting video-on-demand rights for movies to pay-per-view/video-on-demand service In Demand beginning Sunday.

U was the first major studio to sign on to the digital-cable-delivered broadband service last month. Both deals were done as revised extensions of existing PPV agreements.

The two were also part of an announcement earlier this month of a new joint venture of five studios to start an Internet-based movies-on-demand service in the coming months. Disney and News Corp. are expected to announce soon a similar Internet-based movies-on-demand service through Disney’s Movies.com.

AOL Time Warner, which is a partner of In Demand through its Time Warner Cable unit, has yet to sign an agreement with the PPV service, though a spokesman for Time Warner Cable said that will likely happen in the near future.

Cut of the action

The deal for Sony’s Columbia TriStar Intl. Television unit is said to be similar to that of Universal’s, with Columbia TriStar getting approximately 60% of each transaction. Firstrun movies will show up on In Demand about 45 days after the homevideo debut, with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” debuting this weekend.

Other upcoming releases include “The Wedding Planner,” “Vertical Limit” and “Saving Silverman.” For now, the deal does not include library titles.

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