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Cinemas up in arms at Hollywood VoD plans

# 2 April 2011, 17:27 by Chris T

A storm is brewing on the other side of the Atlantic, over a premium video-on-demand service that will allow home viewers to see blockbuster movies just weeks after their cinema release.

The major American cinema chains are up in arms at the plans, which involve four of the six major Hollywood studios. They fear the service, to be offered via US satellite TV operator Direct TV, will seriously dent their box-office takings.

And analysts in the UK say both Virgin Media and Sky will be watching very closely to see if the experiment is a success and hoping to replicate it in the UK VOD market.

According to a report in The Guardian, Fox, Warner, Universal and Sony will make their movies available to rent for $30 (£18). Subscribers will get access to the film for 2-3 days.

Paramount and Disney are thought to be steering clear of the VOD experiment over piracy concerns.

Dan Cryan, a senior analyst at Screen Digest, told the Guardian: “It’s quite likely that we’ll see it in the UK … Sky has already been quite aggressive in promoting sexy VoD offers, like Avatar over Christmas. It’s easy to see both Sky and Virgin Media looking at this.”

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