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CinemaNow enters Japan

The video-on-demand service signs a deal to deliver its online film library to audiences in Japan, charting its newest territory overseas.

Video-on-demand service CinemaNow signed a deal to deliver its online film library to audiences in Japan, staking out its newest territory overseas.

The Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based company inked a licensing agreement Thursday with Japanese multimedia company Media Design Institute to distribute a part of its film catalog to Internet broadband subscribers in Japan.

Under the deal, Media Design Institute will add subtitles to a selection of CinemaNow titles and distribute the films through one of its partners, Japanese Internet service provider NTT-Data. As part of the agreement, NTT-Data will use CinemaNow's technology for delivering movie files over Internet Protocol networks, what's known as video-on-demand.

The films will be for sale to people in Japan with PCs and broadband setups or with Net-connected set-top boxes.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

CinemaNow has been aggressively courting partners overseas to open online movie-rental outfits that can both tap its film library and its video-on-demand technology, PatchBay. In recent months, the company announced a consortium, called the CinemaNow Worldwide Network, of foreign Net broadband providers that it will use as a launching pad to introduce video-on-demand services in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Partners include British Telecom; GOL Philippines; NextGentTel in Norway; Purocine in Latin America; and TV2 Interaktiv in Norway. CinemaNow has already launched video-on-demand services in Singapore and Taiwan in deals with telecommunications companies Chunghwa Telecom and Walker Asia, and it plans to unveil a movie-on-demand service this year in partnership with Freeserve, a top U.K. Internet service provider.

"Joining with NTT-Data and MDI to introduce and drive adoption of Internet video-on-demand in Japan is the best way for us to reach this important and growing base of broadband subscribers," Curt Marvis, CinemaNow CEO, said in a statement.