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Intertainer Rolls Out VOD Services

On Wednesday, Intertainer announced it was widening its Internet-based video on demand (VOD) subscription service to 35 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. The service officially launched yesterday, at www.intertainer.tv. Intertainer is partnering with MSN to promote its service.

Intertainer’s offers name-brand current Hollywood films, TV shows, and music videos, to broadband subscribers. Originally, Intertainer was offering content only in Cincinnati, partnering with local broadband provider Broadwing.

"Video on demand is the future of personal entertainment, offering viewers unprecedented convenience, choice and control," said Jonathan Taplin, Intertainer CEO, in a statement. "With the industry-leading quality of Windows Media and MSN’s unparalleled reach, Intertainer is bringing America into that future with a pervasive, fun and easy-to-use entertainment service."

What differentiates Intertainer from other upstart VOD companies is that it has top tier content from a variety of Hollywood studios. Partners include Universal, Warner Bros., Dreamworks SKG, Artisan Entertainment and New Line Cinema. Movies available now include "The Mexican," "Blow" and "Miss Congeniality." In addition, through TV partners like NBC, A&E and the Discovery Channel, and partnerships with music labels like EMI and Warner Music, Intertainer will have a variety of on-demand television programming and music videos.

Key to the deal is Intertainer’s relationship with Microsoft. Not only is it using Windows Media technology exclusively, but it is also partnering with Microsoft's MSN service for promotion and marketing. On October 25 — coincidentally, the consumer launch of the much-anticipated Windows XP — Intertainer said it will be prominently featured on MSN's Web site. Additionally, Microsoft said it would also feature promotional Intertainer content on WindowsMedia.com.

Lee Black, director of research at market analysis firm WebNoize, said that what motivates users to buy is great content. Intertainer, he said, is ahead of other sites like CinemaNow, because of its name-brand content. Still, despite the premium content, Intertainer is still lacking some big names. "Is Disney [with Intertainer]?," asked Black. "Is Sony?"

Curt Marvis, CEO at CinemaNow, said that the Intertainer announcement was good news for the industry. "That's one more step towards VOD establishing itself as a real business going forward," he said. "Anything that grows awareness and use of VOD is good. I'd much rather read that as news, than see that [Intertainer] was out of business." Currently, CinemaNow mostly offers less than recognizable movies, mostly from its majority owner, Lions Gate Entertainment.

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