Big, big, big news in the world of film distribution and new media models: Viacom/Paramount is leading a charge with Lionsgate and MGM in tow, to launch a brand new pay-TV, VOD service by next year. What does this mean? The studios will cease delivering their new movies to traditional pay-TV channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz. No word yet on what other studios may join the pact, but you can expect similar deals to come once current pay-TV contracts expire. In Dade Hayes’ Variety article on the announcement, there’s not much public concern over at Showtime (though they are part of the Viacom family, so that has to kinda burn a bit) since they are now focusing on original series content as the number one priority.
Which makes sense, all around. How many times recently have you tuned into HBO or Showtime to watch a feature-length film? Me neither. So, having a service that will provide this content exclusively, should be a valuable proposition. Meanwhile, Chris at NewTeeVee has some questions and concerns for this new endeavor. My big question: will this new channel also open up to independent films that don’t otherwise have a VOD home? It’s a new world, much sooner than we expected.