Verizon plans VOD pitch blitz

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Verizon has scheduled back-to-back meetings with each major movie studio next week at the Beverly Regent Wilshire Hotel as the telco attempt to make its play in the video-on-demand arena, Reuters reports.

Executives from several studios have already seen a preliminary demonstration of the TV-based movies-on-demand service through a high-speed DSL phone line. Some are so impressed they're reportedly ready to strike a deal with Verizon within the month. MGM and Warner Bros. are expected to sign first. Disney and News Corp. are reportedly interested. Sony, which is signing up studios for its MovieFly VOD Web service, is also meeting with Verizon. Verizon makes its pitch over three days of continuous 2 1/2-hour meetings with every studio and several independent movie suppliers, including Lions Gate among them, beginning early Monday.

Verizon has completed market tests of the DSL VOD service in Washington, D.C., and committed multiple millions of dollars for set-top boxes to roll the service out as soon as June.

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