Movielink Signs an Indie Deal

Online movie download company Movielink signed its first content deal outside of those with its five founding studios, inking a pact with independent film studio Artisan Entertainment, perhaps most noted for “The Blair Witch Project.”

Artisan has agreed to supply Santa Monica, Calif.-based Movielink with new releases and a selection of films from its movie library. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Movielink execs said other indie deals likely will be sought as the online service seeks to gain traction.

Movielink also said it is adopting Microsoft Media 9 Series and RealNetworks RealVideo 9 formats and is re-encoding most of its titles in the new formats. The company’s original deals with Microsoft and RealNetworks were signed last October.

The company is backed by five of the most powerful movie studios in Hollywood: MGM, Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount and Sony Pictures and it is betting on widespread adoption of broadband. Those with slow dial-up connections are advised that they don’t meet minimum system requirements of a 128 kbps or higher Internet connection.

After downloading movies from Movielink, customers can store movies for up to 30 days. Once play is initiated, they can watch a movie as many times as they would like in a 24-hour period. Downloads range between $2.95 and $4.99.

Analyst have been skeptical about whether consumers want to watch movies on their PCs. but Jim Ramo, CEO of Movielink, was quoted as saying about 15 percent of its customers already have equipped their PCs with a video card and video S-cable connections to link to television sets.

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