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RealTime IT News

At the Movies With SBC Yahoo!

As the broadband connections become the norm and wide-screen computer monitors double as TVs, SBC Yahoo! is promoting a movie download service from Movielink.

"It's always been one of our strategies to get the broadband pipes into the home and then fill them with value-added services," Michael Coe, a spokesman for SBC Yahoo!, told internetnews.com.

The Internet service, a venture of telecom SBC and content provider Yahoo!, also offers a music download and games, he noted.

In the Movielink deal, new SBC Yahoo! subscribers receive a $10 credit for downloading movies. Films cost between $1.99 and $4.99 for unlimited viewing within a 24-hour period. There are no subscription or membership fees.

Even with a high-speed connection, it takes around 50 to 60 minutes to download a full movie; however, users can start watching the movie after it buffers from 2 to 10 minutes, Coe said.

The current agreement runs until year's end. Figures aren't yet available on how many Movielink films have been purchased by SBC Yahoo! customers.

Rachel Heffron, a Movielink spokeswoman, said the companies will likely have new promotions with SBC Yahoo! when this one expires Jan. 1.

For Santa Monica, Calif.-based Movielink, the deal is non-exclusive, however a chance to get in front of SBC Yahoo!'s 3.1 million customers is attractive. The company has a similar contract with Internet content and access provider Terra Lycos. BellSouth and Roadrunner.

More deals with ISPs are expected in early 2004.

It's been a big year for IT and entertainment convergence. Microsoft upgraded to its Media Center operating system to transform PCs into home entertainment hubs.

And Dell attacked the space with a line of flat-screen TVs that serve as monitors and launched a music download service. Apple also enjoyed success with its iTunes service, a development that bolstered content owners' hopes that consumers will pay for online content if it's reasonably priced.

Such developments assured ISPs that they can raise their average revenue per user numbers -- a key industry metric. Broadband companies are working closely with hardware and software vendors to try and develop new services that take advantage of the computer's newest capabilities.

In addition to raising revenue, it also gives DSL providers a competing offering to its cable and satellite competitors' pay-per-view movie services.