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Last Updated: Monday, 7 June 2004, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Viewers flocking to pay TV films
By Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Anger Management, starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler
Anger Management is now on Sky Box Office
More than 100 million homes world-wide now buy on-demand movies, a technology report by Informa Media has said.

On-demand movies are bought via digital TV and are available in the UK on services such as Sky.

The report said 109 million homes will buy movies via digital TV in 2004, compared with 90 million last year.

Simon Murray, the report's editor, said: "We are now experiencing the second wave of on demand TV enthusiasm, following the hyperbole in 2000/01."

Currently there is only a limited availability of true video on demand.

Staggered intervals

Most services broadcast films at staggered intervals, but there is increasing availability of movies which can be watched when the viewer chooses.

Asia Pacific 17 million
Europe 32 million
North America 54 million
Latin America 4 million
Source: Informa Media
Some services even let the viewer, pause, rewind and fast forward the films.

"Consumers are readily embracing digital TV," said Mr Murray.

He added: "An important issue is how people will receive these signals. The more traditional methods of delivery, pay-per-view for sports and near-video-on-demand for staggered movie screenings, via digital cable... are set to dominate the on-demand sector for the next five years.


"From then, true video on demand whereby subscribers can purchase movies or events when they want, will come into the fore."

The Informa report forecasts that the number of households buying video on demand will triple to 327 million homes by 2010, or about a third of the world's total TV households.

These homes will generate revenues of $12bn, says the report.

The increasing use of movies on demand was being seen as a crucial new revenue stream for film studios.

But Mr Murray said studios would be keen to ensure that movies on demand did not adversely affect DVD sales.

"DVD and video account for between 45% and 50% of studios' revenues and they are keen to preserve that cash cow."

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