T-Online Intl signs VOD deal with MGM

FRANKFURT: This is a move that should give a boost to video-on-demand (VOD) in Europe. MGM International Television Distribution, has agreed to supply European Internet Service Provider (ISP) T-Online International with theatrically released features for T-Online's VOD service.

In India MGM has a 50:50 joint venture with Zee. The president of MGM Worldwide Television Distribution Jim Griffiths said, "This landmark agreement speaks to the promising future of VOD worldwide. We are pleased to partner with T-Online, Germany's largest Internet Service Provider. This groundbreaking delivery platform gives German consumers an entirely new way to watch their favorite MGM movies."

Reports indicate that the ISP will provide a range of high-speed Internet and other services on TV to customers, using a set-top box called the ACTIVY Media Center. The ACTIVY, manufactured by Fujitsu Siemens Computers and available through consumer electronics stores, runs the T-Online Vision on TV, which will be launched by the end of the year.

MGM will supply the ACTIVY's VOD service with films previously released in US and German theaters. Movies are downloaded and stored in a piracy-protected format on the ACTIVY until users pay to watch them on their TV set. The VOD service opens new sales opportunities for German fillm studios.

With the ACTIVY and the T-Online Vision on TV, users can access e-mail, news and information on entertainment, sports, movies, music and games through their TV. The ACTIVY also provides an electronic program guide and personal-video-recorder capabilities. A time-shifting function allows viewers to pause a live programme and then continue watching it later.

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