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In Demand, the largest distributor of pay-per-view movies and events in the United States, has sold its video-on-demand service into a record 12 million homes. The soaring popularity of the service was attributed to customer convenience.

VOD subscribers get recent theatrical movies for the standard PPV price of $3.95 with full VCR capability: pause, fast-forward and rewind. reported that the enthusiasm of cable operators for VOD is driving movie buy rates to the point where VOD harvests more revenue for In Demand than standard multichannel PPV, despite the fact that multichannel PPV is already picked up in more than double the number of VOD homes.

VOD is becoming the cable/satellite equivalent of home video, the entertainment industry trade publication reported.

In Demand is preparing a major marketing campaign this month and in July that will tout the virtues of VOD, focusing specifically on the convenience of not having to pay exorbitant late fees for the belated return of cassettes and DVDs to the local video store. These late fees, the campaign will say, funnel up to $1 billion a year into the coffers of Blockbuster.

The long-range goal of In Demand is to phase out the 30 channels of pay-per-view that, before the advent of VOD, were the main outlet for new theatricals in the PPV window. One of the reasons In Demand is still promoting the multichannel PPV window is that it still hasn't reached a deal with the Walt Disney Co. for the right to market its movies on VOD, Variety reported.

The owners of In Demand are four of the biggest cable operators in the U.S.: Comcast, Time Warner, Cox and Advance/Newhouse.

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