Five major motion picture studios have joined forces to offer on-demand web-based movies to US broadband internet users.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros said the service would primarily be an open-access Internet Protocol based system. Movies will be supplied to the service on a non-exclusive basis.
With more than 10 million broadband households and close to 35 million broadband-enabled screens, the studios said the market had "reached a sufficient size to support the on-demand digital distribution channel".
Barry Meyer, chairman and chief executive at Warner Bros, said: "We believe human nature is not predisposed towards piracy. By proactively offering a convenient, affordable, high-quality source of content, the film industry can meet the needs of the public while successfully protecting our intellectual property as we move further into the digital millennium."
The service will launch with premium film content, including action, comedy, drama, family, children, foreign and classics, available through PCs.
Movies can be viewed on computers or on a television connected through an ordinary S-video cable or radio frequency device. According to the studios, the service will also be available to other film producers and distributors.
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