AOL video site to sell Paramount movies, TV shows
Movies and television shows from Paramount Pictures will be available for sale through AOL’s new video portal under a deal to be announced today.
Classics such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Chinatown” and newer releases such as “Mission: Impossible III” will be sold for $9.99 to $19.99 each, comparable to fees at online services CinemaNow, MovieLink and Guba as well as sites operated by MySpace owner News Corp.
Consumers will own the movies and can transfer them to as many as three other computers or portable devices that support Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Media Player technology.
As more Americans get high-speed broadband connections at home, studios and television networks have been experimenting with ways to distribute their programs over the Internet. Some offer programs for free on their websites or at AOL with ads, while others sell them through Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store, Amazon.com Inc.'s Unbox and others.
The Paramount offerings will be for sale only.
AOL’s deal with Viacom Inc.'s Paramount follows similar agreements announced in August with News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, NBC Universal’s Universal Pictures, and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. AOL is a unit of Time Warner. NBC Universal is a unit of General Electric Co.
AOL wants to be a one-stop site for video, but it faces intense competition from veterans such as Yahoo Inc. and start-ups such as YouTube Inc., which Google Inc. is buying for $1.65 billion.