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Vidnet fine tuning

Netcaster links up with Sony, CinemaNow

Days after signing deals with EMI Recorded Music and Microsoft, Netcaster vidnet.com inked licensing agreements this week with Sony Music Entertainment and CinemaNow.

In addition, the company tapped former ICM agent David Gassman director of content acquisition.

Vidnet, a division of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Boulevard, is making an aggressive push to expand the variety of content on its Web site. Gassman, 30, said his primary responsibility will be to create partnerships with entertainment entities like film studios, record labels and producers of television and sporting events.

“Vidnet is going to the next level when it comes to allying itself with entertainment providers,” Gassman said.

CinemaNow will provide films for the site, including 300 from Trimark Pictures, including the “Warlock” and “Leprechaun” series, and 400 Hong Kong action pics from distributor Tai Seng. Trimark Pictures founded and remains a majority owner of CinemaNow.

Curt Marvis, CEO of CinemaNow, said the company is looking at different distribution channels.

“Our business model is to create a series of syndication partners to take our content out to a broadest possible audience,” he said, “much like the case of something like HBO, where it’s available on multiple different cable systems.”

The films will be free to access on Vidnet, Marvis said, but there will be an ad tagged onto the start of the picture.

In return for allowing Vidnet to Netcast newly released musicvideos, Sony Music will receive a licensing fee as well as an equity stake in Entertainment Boulevard. Exact financial terms were not released.

Sony Music “is one of the leading, forward-thinking labels,” Gassman said. “They’re one of the leaders in the Latin music industry, which is huge. Besides that, they have everything from the ‘Titanic’ soundtrack to Macy Gray to Lauryn Hill.”

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