French company pacts with 'Solace' studio

France Telecom Orange has inked a multiyear output deal with MGM, adding to its existing deals with Warner Bros. Intl. TV and HBO.

The accord means that MGM movies, including the upcoming James Bond pic “Quantum of Solace,” will air on the new premium pay TV offer, Orange Cinema Service, which presented its five-channel bouquet in Paris on Wednesday.

MGM new and back catalogue movies are exclusive to OCS.

FT-Orange has also signed up a Gallic gallery of producers and distributors including SND, Pyramide, Bac Films, INA, Les Films du Losange, Wild Side, Pretty Pictures and the Box Distribution. These add to deals with Gaumont and Fidelite Films announced in April.

The five channels will bow Nov. 17, aggressively priced at e12 ($16) a month on TV and PCs and $8 per month on mobile phones.

The new channels comprise Orange Cinemax, which is available in HD and includes the best recent films and TV series shown for the first time in France; family-skewed Orange Cinehappy; action-skewed Orange Cinechoc; arthouse channel Orange Cinenovo; and Orange Cinegeants for classic pics.

It will also offer all its programming on demand and, beginning next year, offer a restart service for viewers who miss the beginning of films.

France Telecom’s move into exclusive premium pay TV, beamed by satellite to the half of France that can’t receive broadband TV, has made waves locally, where the press is pitching it as an attempt to build a rival to pay TV giant Canal Plus.

More than that, however, it is a play to drive up triple-play subs, bundling fixed line telephony, broadband and Internet TV in a single consumer package.

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