3 Hollywood studios look at premium VOD streaming of new releases

A trio of studios are in talks to bring new releases to on-demand outlets shortly after their release in studios, charging consumers up to $30 for the rights to view the films at home, a tectonic change in the way Hollywood is attempting to maintain revenues and a potential windfall for cable companies and over-the-top delivery options like Xbox and PlayStation.

Bloomberg Sunday reported that Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures are talking with In Demand, which is owned by Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable and Comcast, about streaming videos days or weeks after theatrical release, rather than months. Disney, the story said, also is looking into streaming movies over other Web-connected devices.

While it's not the first time studios have dabbled in streaming new releases--remember Sony's test with Hancock in 2008 and last year's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, both of which streamed for $24.95--it is the broadest discussion on the topic to date.

Sony and Disney both are likely to test streaming movies in the next year, Bloomberg said.

Hollywood has seen its revenues from DVD sales decline steadily in recent years, and are struggling to find ways to stop the skid. Blu-ray discs, once ballyhooed as a potential revenue stream, have had only minor impact and studios are working hard to find new streams of cash.

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