The high-speed Internet access provider, a unit of SBC Communications, has teamed with Movielink to create a co-branded Web site of video downloads for subscribers to SBC Yahoo DSL, the companies said Monday. New members will receive $10 in movie rentals from the service, which is powered by Movielink. The online video company, a joint venture of five major Hollywood film studios, lets people rent, download and watch movies on a PC for roughly $4 a title.
The partnership is a trial, and terms were not disclosed.
"By working with Movielink, SBC Yahoo DSL members receive a more robust choice in true broadband content," Tyler Wallis, executive director of SBC Consumer Marketing, said in a statement.
For Movielink, the deal promises greater exposure among its target market: broadband subscribers. The company has long faced difficulties in winning moviegoers over to rent films online. But as increasing numbers of people sign up for high-speed Net service, it has more opportunities to sell its movie downloads, which are less likely to result in a shaky picture on a PC, or on a TV set fed by a PC, if a broadband connection is used.
The partnership should also help Movielink and its studio backers to fight Internet-based piracy. Movielink--owned in part by MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Pictures--is bent on gaining awareness of its legal film rental service among the very Web surfers who are most apt to download new release films via peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa without the permission of copyright holders.
For SBC, the agreement meets part of the need for that is developing as broadband access catches on with consumers and as theand visuals online improves. Nearly 20 million households access the Net using high-speed connections, and consumers are increasingly looking to their PC for entertainment.
The co-branded SBC Yahoo-Movielink service is similar to Movielink's own plan, with rental costs ranging from $2.95 to $4.99. Subscribers can download movies and watch them as often as they like within a 24-hour period. The downloaded movie expires after 30 days, if it has not been watched.
In October, Santa Monica, Calif.-based Movielink struck a deal with Time Warner Cable's Road Runner to offer a co-branded video-on-demand service to its broadband customers. It has similar deals with Lycos, BellSouth, Hollywood.com and The Feed Room.