×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Voom hears a boom

Hi-def service snaps up 193 Miramax titles

Chuck Dolan’s high-definition programming service called Voom has bought exclusive high-definition rights to 193 movies from Miramax Films and its Dimension Pictures sibling for a total license fee of $10 million-$15 million.

Voom offers its subscribers 38 HD channels, including 10 movie services featuring a range of content from Westerns to foreign films to black-and-white classics.

The movies in the deal include 64 martial-arts pictures starring such action veterans as Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Chow Yun Fat. Foreign-language titles make up 28 more movies, led by “Amelie” and “Farewell My Concubine.”

Four pictures are listed as representative of the English-language grouping from Miramax/Dimension: “Clerks,” “Prophecy II,” “The Picture Bride” and Woody Allen’s “Celebrity.”

Profit in doubt

Despite the deal, many Wall Street analysts are skeptical of Voom’s profit-making potential. Voom’s parent company Cablevision Systems is still planning to spin it off into a separate operation along with AMC, WE: Women’s Entertainment, IFC and a batch of regional sports networks, all of which are part of Dolan’s Rainbow Media Enterprises.

The reason analysts have doubts about Voom is that only 28,700 households have signed up for the service in the past year, according to Cablevision, which said Voom lost $72 million in the second quarter alone.

People aren’t feverishly signing up for Voom because the installation and rental of the satellite dish can cost as much as $499. That’s only for starters. Voom sets its monthly rental fee for the digital box at $9.50, and the combination of 21 HD channels and 85 basic-cable networks cost subscribers an additional $49.90 a month. The full package, encompassing all of the HD channels, has an $89.90-a-month pricetag. (Among the ad-supported networks not available to Voom customers are Lifetime, the Weather Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TV Guide Channel, Golf Channel and National Geographic Channel.)

Other outlets

Since DirecTV and EchoStar are adding lots of high-def services to their offerings, Richard Greenfield, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners, said satellite customers don’t need Voom to satisfy their hankering for HD programming.

But Rick Sands, chief operating officer of Miramax, said the naysayers have underestimated Cablevision in the past.

“Chuck Dolan is a creative visionary who has the guts to compete in the early stages of what will be a great concept,” Sands said. “High-definition television has proven to be the most desirable medium through which viewers can enjoy a filmmaker’s vision as it was meant to be seen.”

More Film

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Oscars Placeholder

    Make-Up and Hair Stylist Guild Applauds Academy's Stance on Airing Every Oscar Winner

    Rowdy boos were followed by triumphant cheers at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards on Saturday in Los Angeles, as the Hollywood union touched on a week of controversy over a reversed decision to hand out four Oscars during the show’s commercial breaks. Hair and makeup was one of the four categories that would [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler to Perform on the Oscars (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned. Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five [...]

  • Olmo Teodoro Cuaron, Alfonso Cuaron and

    Alfonso Cuarón Tells Why His Scoreless 'Roma' Prompted an 'Inspired' Companion Album

    Back around the ‘90s, “music inspired by the film” albums got a bad name, as buyers tired of collections full of random recordings that clearly were inspired by nothing but the desire to use movie branding to launch a hit song. But Alfonso Cuarón, the director of “Roma,” is determined to find some artistic validity [...]

  • Berlin Film Festival 2019 Award Winners

    Berlin Film Festival 2019: Nadav Lapid's 'Synonyms' Wins Golden Bear

    Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” about a young Israeli man in Paris who has turned his back on his native country, won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale on Saturday. The Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize went to François Ozon’s French drama “By the Grace of God,” a fact-based account of the Catholic Church [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content