Lion leaps toward CinemaNow

New movies to be available on day of PPV release

HOLLYWOOD — Online movie seller CinemaNow is finishing April with a roar, signing a deal with MGM to distribute its titles in both downloadable and streaming form over the Internet.

MGM took part in trials with CinemaNow last year. The latest deal between the two companies makes permanent the arrangement, formalizing an agreement that includes both downloadable and streamed versions of films ranging from new releases such as “Barbershop” and “Bulletproof Monk” to films plucked from MGM’s library, one of Hollywood’s largest.

New releases will be available day and date with their release in the traditional pay-per-view window, typically about 45 days after a film’s DVD and video release.

MGM Home Entertainment Group prexy and chief operating officer David Bishop said last year’s trials provided the Lion with important experience in online distribution’s quality and security.

“Working with CinemaNow allows us to further pursue these objectives with an experienced leader in this arena,” Bishop said.

CinemaNow, which is backed by Microsoft, most recently announced a similar distribution deal with Artisan Entertainment to distribute new and library titles online.

It has been selling short films online for about four years, offering access to material on both a subscription and film-by-film basis, with files encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media 9 Series format. CinemaNow has developed its own technology, PatchBay, to handle the video delivery, including protections not only against illegal copying but also to prevent a film from being downloaded in territories where a film company doesn’t own rights.

The company competes with Movielink, a somewhat similar service backed by MGM and four other studios that sells movies in downloadable form, in both Microsoft and RealNetworks formats.

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