Oz’s Anytime pacts on VOD with studios

Fox, Sony, Warner Brothers join deal

SYDNEY — Video-on-demand company Anytime announced today deals with four of Hollywood’s biggest studios that will give it access to more than 20,000 pics — the largest VOD offering in the Asia-Pacific region, the company says.

Fox Filmed Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television Intl. and Warner Bros. Intl. Television Distribution have joined Universal Pictures, which had already pacted with Anytime, to supply new and library titles.

All four majors are taking equal equity stakes in Anytime (the amounts weren’t disclosed) in return for their product, and will receive a slice of subscriber revenues.

Anytime’s VOD service, which consisted mostly of music programming, will ramp up to a full movie service in Taiwan on cabler CHT and in Hong Kong on i-Cable. It will roll out shortly in parts of Australia with TransAct, in South Korea and relaunch in Singapore.

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Anytime was started three years ago by Singapore-based hotel, property and construction group YTC, L.A.-based producer Coote/Hayes Prods. and Oz’s Macquarie Bank.

Previously, Anytime had to rely on programming deals with WB in Singapore, U in Hong Kong and MGM in both those territories.

“We started out paying minimum guarantees, but that’s too rich for a startup industry,” said Anytime exec chairman Greg Coote, former prexy-CEO of Village Roadshow Pictures. “So we’ve reverted to equity-for-product deals, which work for the studios and for us.” “We’ve worked on these deals for a couple of years because in most cases, we were reinventing the wheel.”