U.K. VOD service ups challenge to BSkyB

Optimum Releasing has become the latest indie distributor to strike a streaming deal with Lovefilm, the U.K.’s leading online subscription entertainment service.

More than 30 firstrun movies from Optimum’s 2009-2010 theatrical slate will be made available during their pay TV window to Lovefilm subscribers, as well as an extensive selection of library titles.

This marks another step in Lovefilm’s challenge to satcaster BSkyB’s monopoly of the U.K. pay TV market. Lovefilm, which is owned by Amazon, previously struck similar deals with distribs Momentum and Icon.

The new movies from Optimum include “The Last Exorcism,” “The Ghost Writer,” “The Losers,” “A Prophet” and “Coco Before Chanel.” The deal also includes “The Wrestler” and “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” the only two films previously broadcast on BSkyB’s pay TV channels.

Typically in the U.K., new movies go to BSkyB’s pay TV channels before they are made available via subscription video-on-demand services such as Lovefilm. But indie distribs, who struggle to sell their slates to BSkyB, are increasingly exploring the alternative of cutting out the BSkyB window and going direct to Lovefilm.

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