Freeman, Intel to offer movies via the Web

Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment and Intel are teaming on a new venture, ClickStar, to provide firstrun movies and other premium content via the Internet.

The goal, said Freeman, is “to make film easier to buy than to pirate.”

Intel is an investor in the new company, to be headed by former Sony Digital Entertainment veepee Nizar Allibhoy. ClickStar hopes to roll out its service sometime next year.

ClickStar will pursue Internet distribution deals with filmmakers, studios and independent distributors. The company will aim at the emerging Entertainment PC platform that integrates computers with home electronics. Goal is to deliver films to consumers’ living-room TVs and home theater systems, not their desktop computers.

Though no content deals are in place, company will get content from its Revelations parent. “We formed another company so Revelations would not have to be involved with distribution,” said Freeman. “We’re strictly a production company. That way we can stick to creating content for ClickStar.”

Plan also includes “artist-created entertainment channels,” which may offer never-before-seen content to consumers.

“The Internet is a bidirectional medium. It gives artists the chance to offer content and consumers the chance to react back,” said Allibhoy. He said there have been discussions with several distributors and artists but the company is not ready to announce any content deals.

Freeman’s Revelations partner, producer Lori McCreary, said the project was a natural outgrowth of Revelations’ relationship with Intel. “We’ve been working with Intel for seven years quietly, behind the scenes, on initiatives of how technology affects the entertainment industry,” she said. Efforts have included exploring how to lower the cost of visual effects and the Digital Home Open House project, which demonstrates how movies and other entertainment can be distributed simply and securely over the Net (Daily Variety, Jan. 19).

Roger Vakharia, managing director of alliances for Intel’s Digital Home Content Services Group, said Revelations’ work on the Digital Home Open House was part of what made it an attractive partner. “They’re a very progressive, forward-thinking set of individuals,” he said. “They’re very much open to learning, to taking a leadership role in evangelizing to the industry.”

Announcement came from the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference.

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