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Charter links up with Movielink

Sun, 05/23/2004 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

Charter Communications will complement its traditional video-on-demand fare with content from Movielink, an Internet-based movie rental/VOD service.

Under the agreement, Charter will make a customized version of the Movielink service available to its cable modem subscribers.

"We think that there's a kind of natural, symbiotic relationship between MSOs and ourselves, because the delivery of movies over broadband is one of the applications that's really [facilitated] by high-speed and always-on," said Movielink CEO Jim Ramo.

The financial side of the deal involves revenue sharing, though specific terms were not disclosed.

Charter will also add a touch of QoS by installing Movielink servers in the MSO's data centers. "It just helps [us] to deliver the movies faster," Ramo explained.

The deal marks Movielink's second in the cable arena. Road Runner, Time Warner Cable's in-house high-speed partner, was the first. On the telco side of the fence, Movielink has agreements with BellSouth and SBC Communications.

Ramo estimated that about 40 percent of Movielink's customers are coming from affiliates, with the balance signing on directly. He also noted that Movielink presently is handling about 80,000 rental transactions per month.

Though Movielink's original model required users to download an entire film before viewing, the service's new progressive downloading feature, dubbed "Movies in Minutes," enables customers to watch the title while it's downloading. Movielink titles range from $1.99 to $4.99.

For Charter, which already offers traditional VOD in more than 20 markets, the addition of Movielink will give customers another on-demand option.

"For high-speed data customers with laptops, Charter's Movielink service offers the added convenience of where they want - they can download movies on their laptops to take with them when they're traveling," noted Barb Hedges, Charter's vice president of broadband marketing, in a release.

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