Cable network Starz! has just announced that they'll partner with Microsoft and Sony to form Vongo, a legal, pay-for-play movie download service. For a $9.99 service fee per month, Vongo users will obtain unlimited access to a rotating 1,000 film library, likely culled from Starz! current catalog. They'll be able to watch those downloads at any time on a PC or portable media device (presumably that means iPods, PSPs, etc), and will be able to download "new releases" (theatrical features will be available for download after a six month window) for $3.99 apiece. Though the service will obviously draw instant comparisons to the iTunes Music Store, which just started selling television shows for $1.99 an episode with a one day window, to VOD services like GreenCine and Movielink, and to traditional models of television-based pay-per-view, Vongo would seem to go beyond old methods of delivery in terms of its breadth of content alone. But that six month window seems terribly wide, doesn't it? Especially considering that, with the backing of Microsoft and Sony, Vongo will undoubtedly be marketed to PSP and Xbox-rocking gamers. Bill Gates is expected to expand on the deal and the concept in his CES keynote this week.
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