Microsoft, Pact agree VOD deal

Thursday, November 19 2009, 13:10 GMT

By Andrew Laughlin,

Microsoft has signed a deal with independent TV body Pact to free up access to a wider range of content for its MSN Video Player service.

The VOD Acquisition Agreement sealed between Microsoft and Pact - the UK trade association for independent TV and film producers - stipulates full licensing terms for on-demand content, including availability periods and potential exclusives.

Launched as a beta trial in August, MSN Video Player already has content deals with BBC Worldwide and All3Media. However, Microsoft hopes that the Pact deal will help it forge ground in the nascent video on-demand market ahead of rivals such as Hulu and SeeSaw.

Pact chief executive John McVay said that the deal also offers benefits to broadcasters in terms of collective agreement of licensing and further "removes many of the barriers that previously existed for producers" to get their content on MSN.

"It saves a lot of legal fees which the smaller indies may not be able to afford, in terms of contracts. Also, MSN will pay an advance fee, which will allow producers to pay for their content to be cleared to be played out online," he told paidContent:UK.

"The template covers terms of payment, release and renewal dates and definitions. It will be up to producers and MSN to agree a rate card price for their content acquisition."

No further information is yet known about what new content will be coming to MSN Video Player, but more details are expected shortly.