Despite the protests of filmmakers far and wide, portable entertainment is growing by leaps and bounds. What used to be an exclusively theatrical medium has now become an increasingly portable affair. With an expanding customer base comes an expanding marketplace, and AOL is the latest company to join in on the digital revolution. They've signed a deal that grants them access to Miramax's film catalog. For those who like to watch Kill Bill while checking their email, your day has officially come.
Announced in an item from The Hollywood Reporter, the deal would see AOL become a free, ad-supported platform for their customers to potentially enjoy films like Pulp Fiction, Rounders, and yes, even Shakespeare In Love. This, of course, is in addition to the studio already having a foothold with Netfilx and Amazon Prime Instant Video - though the major difference between AOL's free platform and the other pay services is that AOL's catalog of available titles will rotate monthly.
In an official statement, Miramax's representative Beth Meinhart said,
"Creating an ad-supported Miramax-branded channel on the popular AOL On Network is an exciting step as we remain committed to reaching Miramax fans through new and innovative platforms. We are delighted to partner with AOL on this digital offering, and we look forward to bringing a sampling of our iconic films to the AOL audience through its fast-growing multi-screen distribution network."
This sort of acquisition is not only good for AOL - which is further diversifying into digital content - but also for Miramax, which is looking to get back into the business of original programming. Allowing free access to their extensive library is a good first step for the studio, but by no means is it a killer app. Something's going to have to happen to draw the crowds away from the other platforms and into their new AOL partnership.
More than likely, the partners will start to look into a distribution model much like Hulu Plus' agreement with The Criterion Collection. Not only could we soon see exclusive programs and legacy film titles made available to "premium" subscribers, we might see new Video On Demand releases start to be released through this partnership. So while you'll be able to watch Cursed for free, you might have to pony up a little more to work on your Jules and/or Vincent impression.
Perhaps the greatest perk this acquisition could hold is the fact that audiences will have one more way to watch the little known, but very entertaining anthology film Four Rooms. If there's one more way for the world to watch Quentin Tarantino's segment The Man From Hollywood, then clearly we're living in a slightly better world than we were before.