Deal allows downloads of U content in Blighty

Content available on the same date as DVD release

Universal Pictures U.K., NBC Universal Intl. Television Distribution and British Telecommunications have pacted to offer U.K. consumers U content via download-to-own from BT’s BT Vision site, which launches Monday.

Universal content including “King Kong” and “Jarhead” also will be available to buy or rent via video-on-demand on the BT Vision TV platform when the telco launches its next-generation TV services in the fall. All content will be downloadable on the same date as the U.K. DVD release.

BT Vision will open for business with new releases priced at $31, promotional pics available for $15 and library titles for $18.

BT Vision chief exec Dan Marks confirmed negotiations with other rights owners and promised a raft of similar announcements to come in the near future.

Universal Pictures U.K. is again going with its preferred “three-copy model” — for one fixed price, consumers will receive two downloadable files (one each for PC and for portable devices) and a DVD via the mail.

U’s research found U.K. consumers were three times more likely to subscribe if they also received a hard copy to be watched on TV sets.

But Universal Pictures U.K.’s Eddie Cunningham said sending out the hard copy may well prove “an interim step” in the evolution of digital delivery and suggested other studios may not feel the need to follow U’s three-copy model.

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