AOL to Sell Movies, Distribute Ad-Supported TV Shows Online

New Service Showcases Video Search Capabilities

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- AOL equals entertainment. Or at least that's how Time Warner's web unit wants to be perceived by consumers -- many of whom still see it as just another access provider. To that end, AOL has announced partnerships with four major Hollywood studios to offer its users downloadable movies through the AOL Video portal.
Once the movies have been downloaded from AOL, they can be viewed offline, as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices.
Once the movies have been downloaded from AOL, they can be viewed offline, as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices.

Films from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will soon be available for $9.99 to $19.99 a flick. Once the movies have been downloaded, they can be viewed offline, as well as on other PCs and compatible portable devices.

Alt revenue source
These deals reinforce the more than 17 video-content partnerships and 45 on-demand programming channels that AOL announced in July upon the relaunch of its video portal.

Hollywood studios have slowly started to embrace digital downloads as an alternative source of revenue, investing in online movie sellers like CinemaNow and Movielink.

"Viewing online digital content is no longer an esoteric pastime," said Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, digital distribution and acquisitions. "Online programming services like AOL's video portal have the potential to become a major distribution stream for consumer entertainment and a viable revenue source for Hollywood."

Wants to be a leader
With the recent relaunch of its video portal, AOL is also attempting to secure its position as a leader in video search. The additional advertising revenue could be critical to AOL's future now that its subscription model has been eliminated.

Additionally, the deals allow AOL Video to distribute on-demand TV content from Fox and Sony -- shows such as "24" and "Prison Break" from Fox, and classics such as "Charlie's Angels" and "Starsky & Hutch" from Sony.

AOL Video was launched last year to help users search and then play back AOL's licensed and originally produced videos from Time Warner, including TV programs and music videos, news clips from CNN and MSNBC, as well as video from content partners including HBO, New York Times Digital and Sony BMG Music Entertainment.
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