Starz Ent & Sony Pictures TV ink VoD deal

MUMBAI: Starz Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television have inked an exclusive agreement that provides Starz Entertainment with the rights to more than 500 top movie titles from the Sony library.

The deal allows Starz Entertainment to offer the content on multiple distribution platforms, including its 16 linear channels, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) offerings and the broadband video download service, Vongo. The agreement was announced by Starz Entertainment senior vice president, programming Stephan Shelanski and Sony Pictures Television president, distribution John Weiser.

The library deal runs from 2008 to 2014 and provides Starz Entertainment’s flagship Starz and Encore channels exclusive rights to an attractive selection of Sony’s library films, however the VOD deal for Vongo begins in October 2006.

Starz and Encore, which deliver premium television programming to 15.1 million and 27.1 million homes respectively through cable, satellite and telco providers and its other advanced services, are already the exclusive first-run premium cable channel outlet for all of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s films; this new deal broadens that relationship.

Under the terms of the agreement, Starz Entertainment will have access to hits such as both Spider-Man, Men in Black and Bad Boy movies as well as Oscar-winners Gandhi, As Good as It Gets, Jerry Maguire and Philadelphia. In addition, the wide library of titles also includes such modern classics as The Big Chill, Groundhog Day, Sleepless in Seattle and Taxi Driver; Western classics Major Dundee and The Professionals and animated film Stuart Little.

The Sony library content will join Vongo’s selection of subscription movies available for unlimited broadband downloads. The deal enables Vongo to offer Sony’s big Hollywood hits and other great films for pay-per-view (PPV) rental. Hit movies, such as The Da Vinci Code and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, will be offered to all Vongo customers in the traditional PPV window.

“This partnership with Sony Pictures Television validates our position as a leader in movie entertainment and demonstrates our strategy to make a whole range of recent and beloved content available to our subscribers on all of our platforms. We are pleased to offer our subscribers access to Sony’s extensive library of theatrical films that includes content from Gandhi to Ghostbusters to Godzilla, via cable, or satellite, VOD and over broadband,” said Shelanski.

“We are thrilled to extend our partnership with Starz. Starz is capitalizing on the incredible opportunities provided by the depth and variety of the titles Sony can deliver, which will enhance their linear and broadband VOD businesses,” said Weiser.

“This agreement expands and strengthens the pipeline of great films coming to Vongo subscribers for many years. Furthermore, we are pleased to add greater depth to the PPV lineup for those subscribers and non-subscribers who wish to rent individual films,” said Starz Entertainment executive vice president, advanced services Bob Greene.

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