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Intel and Freeman in movie-download venture

Intel and Freeman in movie-download venture

Chipmaker Intel has announced plans to step into the world of movies and has revealed that it would be investing substantially in a company called ClickStar Inc. Intel will be collaborating with film star Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment in this venture. ClickStar will offer movie downloads on the Internet on a pay-per-view basis.

The company plans to offer original movies to Web users before they are available on DVD and also while they are playing in cinemas.

This announcement was made in the presence of Mr. Freeman and Intel CEO Paul Otellini at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho. As of now, the company does not have any major Hollywood Studio on-board, but hopes that Intel’s brand name and Morgan Freeman’s clout would convince studios to sign on.

Speaking at the launch, Morgan Freeman said that the new service aims to address the growing worldwide consumer demand for digital content with special emphasis on filmed entertainment, “Our goal is to deliver first-run premium entertainment to film fans around the world and to make film easier to buy than to pirate,” he commented.

Nizar Allibhoy, who has previously served as a Sony Pictures executive will be the CEO of ClickStar. Producer Lori McCreary, who is a partner in the Revelations Entertainment, was enthusiastic about the new venture. She said that the company would be working with independent filmmakers as well as studio content, “We’ve basically been speaking with our filmmaker friends and getting great feedback. We see it as a tremendous opportunity for everyone in the business,” McCreary said on the occasion. For his part, Nizar Allibhoy hoped that ClickStar would do the same thing for movies as iTunes did for music, “We have the same advantage of being the first out there,” he said.

ClickStar refuted rumors that it was setting up a direct competition with online movie rental services as Movielink and CinemaNow, “There is a demand there, but we believe it’s a limited demand because the content has been out there already,” Roger Vakharia, the MD of Intel’s Content Services Group said. He added that ClickStar was “a missing piece in today’s environment.”

The main intention of ClickStar is to beat movie pirates by playing the game on the same rules, albeit legally. The service is scheduled to be launched sometime in 2006.

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