Television

Disney, Cisco Systems, Intel invest in MovieBeam, Inc.

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company, Cisco Systems and Intel Corporation, through its leading investment arm Intel Capital have invested in MovieBeam, Inc., a newly formed digital entertainment venture.

The financing round, worth a total of $48.5 million, includes additional investment from tier-one venture capital firms the Mayfield Fund, Norwest Venture Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners.

MovieBeam is poised to improve consumers’ movie-rental experience with its movies-on-demand service that has debuted across most major metro areas in the US.

MovieBeam’s unique mix of breakthrough content rights, technology, relationships and assets combined with the expected continued growth in the popularity of consumer electronics devices and alternative content distribution channels is compelling to the new investors.

In the $10 billion US movie-rental industry, 30 million households rent four or more movies per month, 80 per cent of them new releases. MovieBeam serves this market and provides a compelling alternative to other movie-rental options.

The MovieBeam movies-on-demand service provides instant access to an ever-changing lineup of new releases and popular favorites from virtually every major Hollywood studio. There are always 100 movies available instantly, with up to 10 new titles automatically delivered digitally each week, including select movies in high definition (HD), via MovieBeam’s exclusive, low-cost over-the-air datacasting technology.

"Digital technology is changing the face of entertainment, which is helping to transform peoples’ lifestyles and create exciting new business opportunities. It is imperative that high-quality premium content be readily available and accessible. Such new services as MovieBeam are helping to deliver on this vision by providing consumers with greater choice and control over how they enjoy digital entertainment," said Intel Corporation president and CEO Paul Otellini.

"The convergence of traditional consumer electronics products with home networking technologies allows for the creation and deployment of new entertainment services that will give consumers greater control and a richer user experience. As MovieBeam continues to expand its offerings there will be a range of opportunities for collaboration to jointly deliver on this vision," said Cisco Systems, Inc president and CEO John Chambers.

MovieBeam was incubated within The Walt Disney Company for nearly four years. A first generation of this plug-and-play service was deployed and tested in three cities for more than a year, beginning in September 2003. The results of that test proved that the technology works, studios and retailers will help champion the platform, and consumers will pay for and adopt the convenience and quality inherent in this kind of service.

For the past year, the organisation has been focused on incorporating key learnings from that test, securing additional ground-breaking content rights, building new features and flexibility into the service and the technology platform, and rolling out the low-cost datacasting network infrastructure nationally.

"Consumers have come to expect entertainment content when, where and how they want it, and with its increased reach, enhanced technology and support from investors like Cisco and Intel, MovieBeam will create that convenience," said The Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert Iger.

The newly appointed MovieBeam, Inc. board of directors includes:

Mayfield Fund managing director Kevin Fong
Norwest Venture Partners partner Matthew Howard
ESPN Enterprises executive vice president Salil Mehta
MovieBeam, Inc president and CEO Tres Izzard

"The caliber of the companies that have invested in MovieBeam is a testament to what we’ve done right so far and the immense opportunity before us now. MovieBeam is establishing a foothold as an up-and-coming leader in digital entertainment. We’re committed to delivering the highest quality and most convenient movie-rental experience to our customers, which will enable us to grow this business and continue to deliver innovative offerings that change the way people enjoy entertainment at home,” said MovieBeam, Inc. president and CEO Tres Izzard.

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