Indian media company acquires MovieBeam assets

Mumbai-based Valuable Group acquired the video-on-demand service last week for what could be considered pennies on the dollar, according to reports.

MovieBeam promised a push video-on-demand service which delivered ten movies per week to customers using a special set-top box that receives content wirelessly. As it was not an Internet service and required an antenna to receive content, Moviebeam was only available in 31 markets.

The service never caught on, and nearly all its assets were sold to Movie Gallery last year for $10 million. That company's ownership of the service was short lived: Movie Gallery shuttered the service in December of last year, and not soon after filed for bankruptcy protection as it reorganized.

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Disney founded the service in 2005, and spun it off the following year. The entertainment company continued to be involved with the site, however, and along with Cisco and several venture capitalists invested $48.5 million.

Altogether, these companies poured some $200 million into building the site and its network, according to Indian media press sources. While an exact price was not disclosed, Valuable plans to invest $100 million over two years to relaunch the service.

"Through this acquisition, Valuable will further establish itself as a leader in the media and entertainment space, allowing us to deliver ethnic and Hollywood content to homes and the hospitality industry worldwide," Valuable chief Sanjay Gaikwad said.

Movies would be offered in high-definition, and new releases would be offered on the same day as they are released on DVD. It would launch in the US and India initially, and then expand to other markets. The rollout is slated to occur by the end of this year.

Movie Gallery won permission to sell MovieBeam in May, and its assets were sold for $2.25 million to private equity firm Dar Capital. It is from this group that Valuable bought the site's assets, although it would continue to share revenue from Dar, it said.

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