MGM, Lovefilm seal online deal

Pact will cover an initial 250 titles in U.K.

LONDON — MGM Studios has inked a U.K. film distribution agreement with online European film and TV subscription service Lovefilm.

The ongoing pact will see the troubled distrib debut 250 titles in September on Lovefilm’s player, which streams pics onto TVs. Pics in the deal include MGM classics such as “West Side Story,” “The Apartment” and the original “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.”

The deal, likely to provide a small cushion to the fledgling distrib, which was put up for sale in November, marks one of Lovefilm’s biggest deals since its inception six years ago: Two years ago the rental service inked a deal with Amazon, which saw it takeover the site’s rental service in Blighty.

In addition to the initial block of titles on offer from the Lion’s extensive library, the deal will also see new MGM releases added to the Lovefilm player as and when on a transactional basis.

The future of MGM may still be up in the air — lensing of major franchise pics such as “James Bond” and “The Hobbit” have been put on hold — but the deal looks set to be protected by the future sale of the Lion. A spokesperson at Lovefilm said that whether MGM enters into a strategic partnership with another company or is sold altogether “it will have no impact on the new deal with Lovefilm” and the titles available in the Lovefilm catalog and the current contract will be transferred to the new owners.

MGM recently inked a deal with ITV HD this month that will see the broadcaster have rights to “James Bond” pics in HD.

In June, Lovefilm inked a multi-year pact with Warner Bros.’ fledgling subscription video-on-demand service, Warner Films, to distribute physical rental of a slew of titles through the site and on VOD.

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