Intel Invests in Online Film Distribution

At a yearly retreat for media CEOs, Intel announced that it is investing in a company called ClickStar with the intent to create a distribution system for films over the Internet before they are released to home video. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ClickStar was formed by actor Morgan Freeman, most commonly known for his roles in movies such as "The Shawshank Redemption," and producer Lori McCreary, with financial backing from Intel. Freeman and McCreary formed ClickStar's parent company, Revelations Entertainment, in 1996.

"ClickStar addresses the growing worldwide consumer demand for digital content - especially filmed entertainment," Freeman said. "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."

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Former Sony Pictures exec Nizar Allibhoy will head the new company, and he will be charged with convincing a reluctant industry to embrace the Internet as a form of movie distribution. The industry fears that if it offers newer movies, they will be quickly pirated and DVD rentals could fall.

According to news reports, ClickStar has held discussions with several major studios, but has not yet been able to solidify any deals. Also, studios like Warner Bros. and Sony are planning their own Internet movie stores, which may mean trouble for the new company.

However, Intel and Freeman remain confident. "This is a significant step that will transform the consumer’s entertainment experience in the digital home," Intel's CEO Paul Otellini told attendees.

"With Intel's new digital entertainment platforms and ClickStar's exciting new digital entertainment service, consumers will be able to watch first-run films and premium content from the comfort of their living rooms."

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