Television

Channel 4 signs Vod deal for 'Lost', 'Desperate Housewives'

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MUMBAI: UK broadcaster Channel 4 has announced an agreement with Buena Vista International Television (BVITV), the international TV distribution arm of The Walt Disney Company, to acquire the exclusive UK video-on-demand rights to Lost and Desperate Housewives.

In India, the shows airs on Star Movies and Star World respectively.

This deal is Disney's first in Europe for VOD rights to its network series and is in line with Disney's focus on the application of technology to enhance its content and expand its distribution.

The pay per view Vod service will launch tomorrow 27 April when the entire series of Lost season one will be available on-demand at www.channel4.com/lost and to digital TV customers via ntl Telewest's on-demand service. Episodes of the hit series can be purchased for 99p and watched an unlimited number of times within a 24 hour period.

Access to the service will be limited to the UK. ntl Telewest has also secured the rights for content to be shown in high-definition.

Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan said, "Channel 4 is the most distinctive brand in UK television and we want to protect and enhance this reputation by making our award-winning content available across multiple platforms. By partnering exclusively on the VOD rights to two of the biggest shows on TV, we will work together to reach and grow on-demand audiences. This deal with BVITV reinforces Channel 4's plans to make content available 'anytime, anywhere' and is a fantastic way of demonstrating our ambitions in this area."

BVITV VP, MD Europe, Middle East and Africa Tom Toumazis said, "This ground-breaking agreement represents our first step in launching our network series on Vod to the European market. We're committed to working with partners with strong new media strategies, such as Channel 4, to harness new technology in bringing our hit programming to viewers in fresh and innovative ways. We also remain committed to providing legitimate ways in which to download content, and believe that offering these two series in this way is a significant step."

Touchstone Television president Mark Pedowitz says, "The creative appeal of Lost and Desperate Housewives transcends borders and we are thrilled the content will be available on-demand to UK consumers".

Channel 4 new business director Rod Henwood said, "This is a significant step in Channel 4's plans to launch a full video-on-demand service across multiple platforms later this year. Partnering with Disney on these two stand-out shows illustrates the critical strategic importance of VOD to Channel 4."

Also, Lost season two will be available via www.channel4.com and to subscribers of ntl Telewest 14 days after their first UK broadcast and to promote the service for a two week period the first two episodes will be offered to viewers free of charge. Episodes will be streamed on Channel4.com and can be viewed on a PC using Windows Media Player.

On demand episodes of Desperate Housewives season two will be available from 4 May with episodes of the first season available later that month.

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