The UK's Metrodome Group and pay-per-view broadcaster Digital Broadcasting Co (DBC) have teamed up to launch an Internet TV rights company called ProgramNet. Each of the partners will own 50% of the joint venture.
The company will compile a library of digital content ranging from short films to full-length movies through a combination of commissioning and acquisitions. The content will be webcast on DBC's soon-to-launch entertainment web-site, u-directnet.com, as well as licensed to third parties.
Initially ProgramNet will stream short films, short-form soap operas and music promos, but aims to eventually webcast feature-length films.
The new venture stands to benefit from DBC's supply deals with Yes Television and Sky Digital. DBC has a deal to launch a u-direct channel on Yes Television's video-on-demand platform and has operated a 12-channel pay-per-view service, u-directfilms, on BSkyB's digital platform since last July.
ProgramNet also intends to launch a business-to-business web-site from which to market, and eventually sell, its digital content.
DBC already has a pay-per-view and video-on-demand output deal with Metrodome, and similar arrangements with other UK distributors such as Alliance Atlantis and Downtown Pictures. It also has package deals with Universal Pictures and FilmFour.
DBC's shareholders include Pearson Television, Deutsche Bank and Nomura International. DBC chief executive Richard Brooke is a former group finance director of BSkyB.