BVITV inks multiplatform deals

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CANNES -- Buena Vista International Television signed a slew of significant deals on the opening day of MIPTV. The studio announced its debut Hong Kong-based VOD deal with Hong IPTV and VOD base operator ViDeOnline as well as deals for kids that launch "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" in more than 80 international territories on free TV. BVITV said it also licensed further series of "Grey's Anatomy" to the Five channel in the U.K.

BVITV's first Hong Kong-based VOD agreement will see library features from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Miramax Films available for users to rent on-demand via ViDeOnline's O8Media Internet platform, which launches this month in Hong Kong.

The agreement also allows ViDeOnline to distribute the Disney movies on demand to Hutchison broadband customers on a pay-per-view and subscription basis, allowing users to rewind, pause and fast-forward during the movie. Hutchison is set to launch its broadband to computer service jointly with ViDeOnline's O8Media platform. Disney movies on demand also will be available to Hutchison TV customers when the company rolls out its digital set-top box service this year.

"We're delighted to conclude our first VOD agreement in Hong Kong, which demonstrates the company's commitment to leveraging technology to enhance our content," BVITV Asia-Pacific's vp sales Greg Johnson said. "Working with ViDeOnline to deliver some of our biggest Hollywood blockbusters to consumers in innovative and flexible new ways helps drive uptake of legitimate download services."

Priscilla Lu, founder, chairman and CEO of ViDeOnline, said Hutchison's high-speed broadband network had created a customer base hungry for quality content.

"Our digital entertainment platform gives Hong Kong consumers more entertainment choices and freedom with how and where they enjoy Disney entertainment," she said.

Following the success of CG-animated preschool series " Clubhouse" on Playhouse Disney and Disney Channel around the world, the show has been licensed to more than 80 territories outside the U.S., including GMTV in the U.K., Seven Network Australia, TVNZ New Zealand, TF1 France, Super RTL Germany, RAI in Italy, TVE Spain, Channel One Russia, RTE Ireland, Fiji TV, Kids Central Singapore, TVB Pearl Hong Kong, TV3 Malaysia and KBS Korea.

The show has already been shown in more than 100 million terrestrial TV homes, said Laurie Younger, president of Buena Vista Worldwide Television. "We look forward to working closely with our free-to-air broadcasters across the globe to bring this exciting and educational preschool series to their younger viewers, building on its early success," she added.

BVITV also has renewed its U.K. terrestrial TV licensing deal for "Grey's Academy" with the RTL-owned Five channel, giving Five exclusive terrestrial rights to the show, which airs first in the U.K. on basic pay Web LivingTV.

The deal was negotiated by Five head of acquisitions Vanessa Brookman and Catherine Powell, BVITV's vp sales in the U.K., Ireland, Nordic, Benelux and Israel.
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