Moscow eyes city-funded VOD project

Movies set to be priced lower than pirated DVDs

MOSCOW -- Moscow's city government plans to launch a VOD project to fight piracy. The move comes within the framework of a 32 billion ruble ($1.38 billion) program for developing telecoms and media in the capital.

Vladimir Lysikov, an official with the city government's committee on telecoms and media, told business paper RBC Daily on Thursday that the city government will finance the creation of a special server for storing movies for VOD distribution.

"The movies will cost less than those on pirated DVDs," he was quoted as saying. More details of the project are expected to be announced shortly.

Meanwhile, Moscow broadband Internet providers are concerned that the city government's program would jeopardize their own plans for VOD, as the program stipulates support for two operators -- Akado and Mostelecom -- and the VOD scheme would most likely be implemented through them, leaving other players in the market in a disadvantaged position.

Observers also say it will be difficult for the city government to reach deals with copyright owners that would allow it to keep prices low.