Canada dials in H'wood movies

Disney, Sony pics available for download on mobiles

Phone giant Bell Canada on Thursday became the first Canadian company to phone in Hollywood movies to mobile phone subscribers on a pay-per-view basis.

Toronto-based Bell Canada is offering selected Disney and Sony movies as part of distribution deals with Buena Vista International Television and Sony Pictures Television International to video-capable cell phone subscribers for $5.99 a play, plus a subscription fee.

The Mobile Movies service, powered by mobile media company mSpot, represents Disney's first mobile agreement for full-length movies with a foreign partner.

Orest Olijnyk, senior vp and managing director at the Walt Disney Co. Canada, said the agreement "demonstrates our focus on leveraging technology to enhance our content and bring it to consumers in innovative, flexible new ways."

The Hollywood movies will stream directly to Bell Canada cell phones using the phone giant's wireless high-speed network.

Once downloaded, cell phone subscribers will employ DVD-like playback controls to view a movie as many times as they wish during a rental period, typically 24 hours to a week, depending on the title.

Bell Canada cell phone subscribers will be able to choose from a range of movie genres, including action, comedy, drama and horror.

Initial catalog titles on offer include "Spider-Man 2," "As Good as It Gets," "The Cable Guy," "Charlie's Angels" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

Canadian phone subscribers can access the Mobile Movies program north of the border only, and not when roaming in the U.S. market.