Real Networks and Starz Launch Broadband Film Service

Real Networks and Starz Encore Group have launched a new service delivering films over broadband to US subscribers. A US$12.95 (€10.68) subscription to Starz Ticket gives viewers access to a library of major films encoded in RealVideo 10 with download times of as little as 20 minutes. Titles include such reasonably recent fare as Pirates of the Caribbean, and comedy fish movie Finding Nemo.

Content providers seem to like subscription models, either charging a flat rate for access to all content, or a lower subscription with content priced individually. It’s a good way of locking in customers.

“In the cable and satellite world the ‘all you can eat’ subscription business model has proven to be much more popular than the transactional pay-per-view model,” said Starz chairman, founder and CEO, John J. Sie.

Subscriptions are a cheaper business model too, as lots of small individual transactions cost money to process and unless all your customers suddenly jump ship one month, month to month income is more predictable.

It’s a shame that geographical boundaries still apply to distribution rights – there’s no other reason why Starz Ticket should be US only.


Real Networks

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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?