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Friday, August 25, 2006
AOL to Offer Movie Downloads From Four Studios


Time Warner Inc.'s AOL said on Thursday it will offer movies from four major Hollywood studios for downloading on its new Internet video service.

AOL said films from Twentieth Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will be available for download on AOL Video for $9.99 to $19.99 per movie.

AOL Video started in August as a one-stop shop to search and download a wide range of video content from the Web.

It said in July that the service would allow users to buy or watch for free thousands of television shows from any one of 45 video-on-demand channels, including programs licensed from Viacom Inc.'s MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central networks and A&E Television Networks.

Thursday's announcement comes amid growing competition in the online video business, which includes movie download sites CinemaNow and Movielink, as well as online DVD rental company Netflix Inc.

Only 25 movie titles are available now, but the company planned to add "hundreds" in a few weeks.

AOL is trying to change its business from one dependent on subscription revenues to one driven by free programming and services funded by online ads. The movies are aimed at giving another choice to consumers who prefer to pay for premium programming.

Hollywood studios see digital movie downloads as a way to generate new revenue from old titles and have been investing in online distributors.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a unit of Japan's Sony Corp. , has signed deals with CinemaNow and Movielink, and its president Benjamin Feingold forecast more to come.


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