Indian conglomerate buys MovieBeam service

The service used PBS digital broadcast signals to piggyback movie downloads to dedicated set-top boxes
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The Valuable Group will invest $100 million over the next two years for MovieBeam’s relaunch in North America, the United Kingdom and other markets.

Valuable Group, the Indian conglomerate behind digital pioneer UFO Moviez, has acquired MovieBeam, the over-the-air VOD service founded by Walt Disney.

Headed by Sanjay Gaikwad, the group said it acquired all the assets, trademarks, IPR and alliances of the service that was first launched in 2003. Price of the transaction was not disclosed.

Disney and other backers spent more than $100 million developing the service, but sold it at a fire-sale price of $10 million in March 2007 to retailer Movie Gallery. The service was closed down last December after Movie Gallery filed for bankruptcy.

The service, developed by Disney, Intel and Cisco, used PBS digital broadcast signals to piggyback movie downloads to dedicated set-top boxes. The company said it will roll out the new service to three unnamed markets by the end of 2008.