Movielink, Charter log into Net partnerhship

Pact puts movie service in front of over 1.5 mil users

HOLLYWOOD — Studio-backed video-on-demand service Movielink has signed its first partnership with a cable MSO, offering Internet movie rentals to Charter Communications’ high-speed Internet subscribers.

Deal puts a co-branded Movielink offering in front of the more than 1.5 million users of Charter’s Net access. It’s similar to existing deals Movielink has with telcos SBC and Bell South, as well as a heavily promoted deal with AOL that temporarily offered Movielink pics for 99¢ per rental.

Charter plans to promote its co-branded Movielink service as the online equivalent to its OnDemand video-on-demand offering for digital cable subscribers.

Signing up partners to help promote its service in return for affiliate fees has been a key strategy for Movielink, which has otherwise focused its marketing dollars on efforts to reach college students.

Since launching more than a year ago, Movielink has taken a leading role in the still small online VOD market. Company is currently renting approximately 75,000 pics per month, which translates to less than $4.5 million in revenue per year at its current prices.

Internet VOD market is expected to grow once home networking technology becomes more prevalent, as well as portable devices with Microsoft’s forthcoming digital rights management technology that allows rented digital content to be taken off of computers.