The European Commission hasofficially given its approval for the creation of MovieCo, a joint venture toprovide a Video On Demand (VOD) film service in the UK.

MovieCo is an initiative of Sony Pictures TelevisionInternational, Walt Disney Television International and pay-TV specialist OnDemand Group.

The service will follow a staggered phased roll-out regionby region across the ntl digital TV cable platform starting in the firstquarter of 2005 with future plans to roll out the service on the Telewest broadbanddigital TV service in the first half of 2005.

The service will be made available to consumers on a 'ondemand' basis, and will be available through ntl with full video/DVD-typefunctions such as pause, fast forward and rewind and with no need to buy, orrent, new equipment.

The MovieCo new VOD film service will use an "openaccess" structure, available to a wide variety of movie content suppliers.It will contain product licensed from both the extensive movie catalogues ofthe MovieCo partners and from other content providers.

Andy Birchall Chairman, On Demand Group commented, "TheOn Demand Group are delighted with the EC's approval of the JV and itscommitment to leading the way towards greater competition in pay TV services.