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BT signs Warner and EMI content deals for launch

LONDON - BT has inked content deals with Hollywood studio Warner Bros and record label EMI for its broadband TV service, BT Vision, which launches today and expects to sign up 2m-3m customers.

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The agreement with Warner Bros gives BT Vision customers access to new films such as 'Superman Returns', as well as titles in the back catalogue including the 'Harry Potter' franchise and TV shows 'The OC', 'ER' and 'Smallville'.

Under the new deal, customers can download titles to own or rent, which will be streamed instantly to their TV set via a set-top box.

BT has also secured video-on-demand rights to music promos from EMI artists such as Coldplay, Lily Allen and Kylie Minogue, in addition to long-form programming in the music group's catalogue. 

The deal, EMI's first TV on-demand deal in the UK, allows BT customers to download and listen to music on a pay-per-view basis.

BT has also announced a further agreement with sports broadcaster Setanta for live FA Premiership football from next season. BT Vision will now offer Setanta's new channel, Setanta Sports, along with its own on-demand sports content.

Dan Marks, CEO of BT Television, saod: "We've said that BT Vision will be offering the best in all-round entertainment and this includes the very best of sport. We're looking forward to exploring many more sports opportunities together."

BT Vision has already signed content deals with Channel 4, DreamWorks, i-concerts, Eagle Rock, BBC Worldwide, Paramount, Warner Music Group, National Geographic Channel, Sony BMG, Viacom and Turner Broadcasting, among others.

The telecom giant's service offers 40 free-to-air channels, a phoneline, broadband connection, a personal video recorder and around 1000 hours of on-demand programming.

Unlike other on-demand services in the UK, there is no monthly subscription fee.

BT has launched the service in an attempt to generate new revenues as profit from its fixed-line telephony business declines under stiff competition.

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