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CinemaNow to relaunch music video download site, adding Warner videos

Online movie download site CinemaNow Inc. will revive its 2-year-old effort to sell music videos, hoping to fill a demand for content to be viewed on portable devices by increasing its inventory.

The company first launched its ”watchmusichere.com” site in 2005 with a small selection of music videos. That site never quite found an audience in part because the portable media devices that could play the videos never caught on.

With Apple Inc.’s iTunes music store finding some success in selling music videos and the increased number of portable media players, CinemaNow has decided to beef up its offerings and will relaunch by featuring videos from the Warner Music Group.

”We were a little bit premature,” CinemaNow chief executive Curt Marvis said Monday.

The new site will offer videos for $1.99. The files are just below DVD quality. Only one file needs to be downloaded. It can be transferred to a total of three devices, such as a desktop computer, a laptop and a portable device running Windows Media software.

The videos will not play on the popular iPod video players or the upcoming iPhone from Apple.

”This year, consumers headed to the Web for short-form content in record numbers, and we see great potential in music video downloads,” Marvis said.

The relaunched site will feature about 1,600 videos exclusively from Warner until July 21. After that, additional videos from Warner and from other major record labels will be added to the site, the company said.

Marvis said the files are designed to look good playing on a larger screen as well. Many portable players can connect to a TV either through a cable or a wireless connection.

CinemaNow not only faces competition from iTunes, but also from a number of sites, such as Yahoo Music, that stream music videos for free.

Marvis said people, especially rabid fans, will want to own higher quality versions.

”Because it’s only $2, it’s kind of an impulse buy,” Marvis said.

CinemaNow is privately held. Among its investors are Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Blockbuster Inc.

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