×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AOL Launches Free Streaming Movies in Pact with Miramax

AOL is now playing in the movie biz.

The Internet media company inked a deal with Miramax to deliver a selection of its full-length films to U.S. users, available to watch for free (with ads) across a range of devices. The pact will lead up to the launch of a new “Movies” section that will be featured across the AOL On Network for video, which until now has comprised only shortform series and clips.

Miramax’s 700-plus film library includes such titles as “Pulp Fiction,” “Chicago,” “Good Will Hunting,” “The English Patient,” “Life Is Beautiful,” “Cinema Paradiso,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Trainspotting,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” and the “Scream,” “Scary Movie” and “Spy Kids” franchises.

The Miramax channel on AOL is scheduled to launch April 30. AOL will make available “tens of films” from the Miramax library, rotating on a monthly basis, said Ran Harnevo, president of AOL Video. The initial lineup of pics hasn’t been disclosed yet.

“There’s a tendency to look at digital companies as doing only shortform video,” Harnevo said. “Our viewers are getting more open to us offering longer-form content, and we want to offer a full breadth of content. Curating good film experiences looks like a natural path.”

The Miramax deal is not exclusive to AOL, and the studio has cut licensing deals with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, among others. But Harnevo said AOL sees an untapped opportunity to sell advertising for premium movies online, noting that most films are available digitally via subscription or electronic sell-through services.

The rise of connected-TV viewing also pushed AOL to jump into movies. AOL On is now available on 14 connected-TV devices, including Microsoft Xbox 360, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, TiVo and TVs from Sony, Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sharp. Viewing on those platforms tends to be longer than on PCs.

Ultimately, AOL’s objective is to be a comprehensive purveyor of video across the spectrum, Harnevo said — with a lineup of snackable clips, short-form series, 30- and 60-minute episodic shows, and movies. AOL has greenlit its first TV-length original series, “Connected,” an adaptation of an Israeli reality show to be set in New York City in which five cast members record their lives using personal handheld cameras.

AOL is in talks with other studios to bring more films into the soon-to-launch Movies section of its website. That will have a unique user interface designed for discovering and watching movies, according to Harnevo, distinct from how AOL’s other video content is presented. AOL will deliver ads in the free streaming movies, but “we are going respect consumption behaviors and we won’t get too aggressive on monetization,” he said.

For Miramax, the AOL deal marks yet another way to squeeze digital dollars from its intellectual property. “Creating an ad-supported Miramax-branded channel on the popular AOL On Network is an exciting step as we remain committed to reaching Miramax fans through new and innovative platforms,” said Beth Minehart, Miramax exec VP of global digital.

Disney sold Miramax in 2010 to Qatar Holding along with an investor group led by Colony Capital. Miramax recently announced a 20-year deal with The Weinstein Co. to co-produce and co-distribute derivative works based on titles in the Miramax library.

AOL is the third-biggest U.S. Internet video operator, behind YouTube and Facebook. In March, AOL had 69.4 million U.S. unique video viewers who watched 1.3 billion videos, according to comScore. In a separate initiative to drive up viewing, AOL.com last week added a prominent new video module on the home page, with content partners including HSN and WWE.

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content