Lion’s Gate (Lionsgate.com / NYSE:LGF) who makes up the Lion’s share of gross sales on Xbox Live Video Market Place, and is one of the leaders on Apple’s iTunes, and CinemaNow, has signed a deal with ZillionTV. Lion’s Gate is easily the most forward thinking of the big movie studios with regards to digital licensing. Lion’s Gate hired Curt Marvis in 2008 to be their president of digital media.
Lion’s Gate offers the best terms for those looking to resell their content over the Internet. Being a young studio they had the foresight to structure their deals with talent, production, and score such that their terms are favorable when putting content in any medium. Studios like Disney have been plagued with out dated royalty terms that often prevent them from releasing a title to a new medium with out reworking royalty deals or remastering portions of the film.
No terms of the deal were released. CinemaNow announced in 2006 that it had a "Day and Date" with burn rights for its users, allowing Customers to get Lion’s Gate films the moment they were available for release, watch them instantly, and burn them for playback for perpetuity.
ZillionTV made public as part of press release that they are delaying the launch of their service another 9 months, making the service at least 18 month late from it’s original January of 2009 launch date. This is the first announcement from Zillion TV since announcing their own change in CEO from Mitch Berman (Former VP of Affiliate Sales at E! Entertainment Television (he says he is Co-Creator) ), to Jack Lawrence.
ZillionTV is currently allowing a select few (sources say less than 50) beta testers test the ZillionTV service Over the Top. The Set Top Box while not the sexy Z-Bar shown in Zillion’s design patents, allows users to watch nearly 4000 Movies from studio Partners such as Sony, Fox, Disney, NBC Universal, and more.
Recent changes in the likely terms of "Net Neutrality" have forced ZillionTV to change it’s content delivery strategy. The original ZillionTV model was to partner with ISP’s and Telco’s to deliver content securely over a high QoS network which they owned end to end. The new ZillionTV model is to deliver content in a less secure manner "Over the Top" of the public Internet. Unlike Xbox Live Video Market Place, Hulu, or most Internet Video platforms which are "Progressive Adaptive Streaming" which means that the service won’t let you start watching content until it is sure you will be able to do so without interruption, ZillionTV is true streaming. Users watching Xbox Live Video Market Place may experience less than 10 seconds of delay when watching an HD movie if like me they have a 20+ Megabit Connection, but could have a delay of 30 minutes to watch an episode of "Heroes" in HD if they were on a 6 Megabit connection, or 4 hours if they were on a 768K DSL connection. ZillionTV users will have to have enough bandwidth to stream what they want to watch, and will have to put up with the re-buffering associated with watching Streaming Media over the Public Internet, meaning the service won’t be available to much of the Internet who has less than 2 Megabits.