Sony, Warner, Disney Plan Pricey Home Film-Viewing Option

With DVD revenues suffering, major movie studios are talking up "Premium VOD" deals with cable operators, hoping that consumers will pay as much as $30 per show to see movies via their TV sets soon after a theatrical movie's release.

Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are in talks with video-on-demand service In Demand, which is controlled by the largest U.S. cable TV system operators. Bloomberg first reported the news.

Typical video-on-demand movies via In Demand and other services, charge around $4 a movie -- but they are available three or four months after a theatrical movie's typical release. These VOD airings occur around the same time as the DVD release for rent or purchase.

In Demand is a partnership of Cox Communications, Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable. The deal may also include streaming films on game devices such as Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox and Sony Corp's. PlayStation 3. The report did not say how soon after a theatrical movie's release the new premium VOD films would play.



Last week, a Time Warner Cable executive said the company expects to offer Warner Bros. films through an In Demand test later this year, with an offering price of between $20 and $30 per viewing.

Disney is look at testing a single film in the first quarter of 2011. Movie studios have been hit hard by a pullback of DVD rental and sales. The largest DVD brick-and-mortar retailer, Blockbuster Video, just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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