×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WB pix go broadband in Europe

Films hit the 'Net via Telecom Italia deal

In a first-of-its-kind deal, Warner Bros. will provide such hits as “The Matrix Revolutions” and “Mystic River” via broadband connections in Europe.

Warner Bros. Intl. TV Distribution recently signed the Movielink-like agreement with phone giant Telecom Italia, the fifth largest telco in Europe. Deal provides for the distribution of 100 movies a year via the telco’s Rosso Alice broadband portal.

Starting today, computer users with fast connections in Italy who subscribe to Rosso Alice will be able to purchase both new movies (most released on DVD just six months earlier) and Warner library titles.

The Hollywood major, along with rival studios, is talking to other cable and telco providers about similar arrangements in the rest of Europe. Such deals will pry open yet another ancillary revenue stream for Hollywood content — and offer, presumably, a cost-effective alternative to illegal downloads.

Under the just-inked two-year deal, Warner movies will be available in streaming mode for 24 hours following their purchase. They will be filtered to ensure that they are available only to Rosso Alice users.

New models

The financial and technological models for the deal are new and apparently provide for a minimum guarantee of subscribers and for the two partners to share the revenue from downloads, though the precise split was not made public.

By acquiring hit Hollywood movies, Telecom Italia is stepping up the competition with digital terrestrial networks operated by top national broadcasters Mediaset and RAI, as well as with Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia.

Deal also commits the two companies to increase cooperation in the fight against online film piracy.

“We recognize that there is considerable interest by consumers to view movies online via their PCs in a legal manner and not through illegal downloading,” said WBITD prexy Jeffrey Schlesinger. “As broadband’s penetration widens, it is important that we make our content available in a timely, easy-to-access, legitimate manner, while at the same time protecting our content rights in the digital space.”

Pricing varies depending on the pic: Recent films will cost $2.99; cult movies and classics will go for $1.99; and children’s pics will be priced at $1.50. Rosso Alice customers can either charge movies to their monthly phone bills or pay by credit card.

The Rosso Alice portal, inaugurated last March, already provides other content, including 200,000 songs, live events such as soccer matches and TV shows including “Big Brother.”

All content is accessible at the Rossoalice.it Web site.

Rosso Alice registered 2.5 million unique visitors in October. Telecom Italia had supplied 3.7 million broadband accesses by the end of September, 350,000 of which were outside Italy.

The Warner deal in Italy is thought to be nonexclusive, meaning the studio could license product to the country’s other broadband provider, E.biscom, as well.

More Film

  • Octavia Spencer Bryce Dallas Howard

    Octavia Spencer, Bryce Dallas Howard to Reunite for Comedy 'Fairy Tale Ending'

    Octavia Spencer and Bryce Dallas Howard will reunite for the ensemble comedy “Fairy Tale Ending.” Jim Hecht (“Ice Age: The Meltdown) and Tracy McMillan (“Marvel’s Runaways”) are writing the screenplay. Howard will also produce the Universal movie through her Nine Muses Entertainment alongside Eric Carlson and Susan Carlson. Seth MacFarlane and Erica Huggins will produce [...]

  • Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at DuArt

    Robert Smith, Longtime Executive at New York's DuArt Film Labs, Dies at 88

    Robert Smith, a longtime executive with New York’s DuArt Film Labs, died Jan. 11 in Montvale, N.J. He was 88. Smith spent some 62 years with DuArt, the film processing and post-production facility founded in 1922 in the penthouse of an automobile garage in Midtown. Smith rose to president of DuArt before retiring in 2015. [...]

  • Bird Box

    Los Angeles On-Location Feature Filming Surges 12.2% in 2018

    On-location feature filming in Greater Los Angeles expanded impressively in 2018, gaining 12.2% to 4,377 shooting days, according to FilmL.A. Production activity for feature films rose 15.5% to 1,078 shooting days during the fourth quarter, with 146 days coming from projects receiving California tax credits — including Netflix’s “Bird Box,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a [...]

  • 'Ghostbusters': First Look at Jason Reitman's

    Watch the First Teaser for Jason Reitman's 'Ghostbusters' Sequel

    If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, it’s time to watch a teaser for Jason Reitman’s “Ghostbusters” forthcoming film. Sony Pictures released a first look at the upcoming movie, a sequel to the 1984 classic. The footage shows a glimpse of the memorable station wagon Ecto-1. The studio announced on Tuesday that the wheels are [...]

  • Anne Hathaway

    Anne Hathaway to Star in Robert Zemeckis' 'The Witches' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to star as the Grand High Witch in Robert Zemeckis and Warner Bros.’ “The Witches” adaptation. Variety first reported that Hathaway was holding the offer for both that and “Sesame Street,” and at the time, scheduling for both films were holding up dealmaking. With those issues settled, Hathaway is [...]

  • Film Ratings Overhauled in the U.K.,

    Film Ratings Overhauled in the U.K. With Tougher Restrictions on Sexual Content

    The body that oversees film ratings in the U.K. is tightening its age restrictions and giving movies with certain types of sexual content older age ratings. The British Board of Film Classification said the changes were in response to public demand after a consultation that took in the views of over 10,000 people in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content