Just two weeks after five major Hollywood studios announced a joint venture on-demand movie service for internet users, the remaining two - Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox have launched their own service. Entitled Movies.com, it will provide movies and other entertainment content on demand to consumers in the US starting in early 2002. Content will come not only from Disney and Fox but also from Disney-owned Miramax Films and others.
The service will be available to consumers with enhanced cable systems with on-demand capabilities (via digital set top boxes) as well as all forms of broadband internet access. In the case of the latter, users will download the film to a computer hard drive for playback on television or computer display.
Movies.com will be a new operating company owned equally by Fox parent company News Corporation and The Walt Disney Co. It will enter into video-on-demand distribution agreements with Walt Disney Studios, Fox and Miramax and offer new releases exclusively for a limited period ahead of the pay-per-view window.
The service will also offer recent and classic films from the Fox and Disney libraries, movie-related information and promotional video content. It also plans to license rights to new releases from other companies.
The venture will absorb Disney's existing online film information service Movies.com and employ an independent management team in Los Angeles.
In August, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros united to create their own on-demand service which will offer films only for broadband internet users.