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Blockbuster in talks for a stake in a new premium cable channel

From Reuters

Blockbuster Inc. is in talks to buy a stake in a premium cable TV channel to be launched by Viacom Inc. with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Blockbuster is exploring getting digital rights to the channel’s programming in exchange for an investment, the people said. The video rental firm has been holding talks for several weeks, one person said.

Another person familiar with the matter said the joint venture was also in discussions with other parties over a fourth partner.

Viacom, MGM and Blockbuster did not immediately comment. A spokesman for Lions Gate declined to comment.

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Viacom and its two partners had announced plans April 20 to launch a premium TV channel in autumn 2009 after talks with CBS Corp.'s Showtime to renew movie licensing deals fell apart over pricing.

Combined, the three companies had received $300 million to $350 million annually from Showtime, according to one person.


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