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Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate plan a premium movie channel news
28 January 2009

Viacom, Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate have planned a new, premium movie channel, in which Viacom plans to invest up to $100 million.

The new channel will debut in 2009.

Blockbuster Inc, the largest chain of DVD and video game rental stores in the world, will be the investment partner and would be granted digital rights to programming on the still-unnamed channel. Blockbuster is trying its best to revive its struggling video business.

Headquartered at Renaissance Tower in Downtown Dallas, Texas, Blockbuster introduced an online DVD rental service in the US in August 2004 to compete with the established market leader, Netflix.

The channel will offer exclusive video-on-demand access to a number of movies from Paramount, MGM Studios, United Artists, and Lionsgate in addition to original TV series created by the studios.

Viacom, the main investor in the venture, has apparently signed exclusive contracts with all parties involved.

If the deal comes through, there will be serious competition to big names like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

There will be an online component to the channel, too, although no details were provided by the studios about what that might entail. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman merely said that it would be consumer-oriented and that there would be some flexibility involved in what can be done with it. This may be the part that Blockbuster is most interested in, as the company has been desperately attempting to break into the online market for some time now.

Blockbuster purchased the struggling Movielink in August of last year.

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Viacom, Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate plan a premium movie channel