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Time Warner to Test Premium VOD Window in 2011

New scheme will make movies available for home viewing just a month or two after theatrical release for $20-$30 a pop, conglomerate CFO John Martin tells Goldman Sachs conference

Time Warner will begin testing what it calls its "premium video on demand" service starting next year, the conglomerate's CFO, John Martin, told investors attending a conference held by Goldman Sachs in New York Thursday.

Under the program, consumers would pay $20 to $30 to watch digital copies of movies that were released in theaters just 30-60 days prior, and weeks or months before they're released on DVD, Blu-ray and pay-per-view.

"The idea would be 30 or 60 days after a movie is released into the theaters, allowing an event VOD type of service offering for, I don't know, $20, $30 for those people that maybe like me, have kids," Martin said. "You don't always have the flexibility to get out to the movie theaters. It's an idea that we've been talking about and we're likely going to experiment with, perhaps as early as sometime the beginning of next year," he said.

Similar premium VOD programs are also in development at other major studios, including Fox and Sony.

"We are trying to drive home entertainment behavior in such a way that it's the highest-margin opportunity for us as the studio," Martin added. "It's one of the reasons why we are trying to drive growth in VOD."