• U.S.

SHOW BUSINESS: Pay-As-You-See Premiere

1 minute read

In the oil-rich town of Bartlesville, Okla. (pop. 28,000) a new type of commercial well blew in last week. It was the most ambitious test to date of pay-in-the-parlor TV. From the Lyric Theater, a double feature (The Pajama Game and Mississippi Gambler) flashed from noon to midnight into 300 living rooms via coaxial cable, thus presumably avoiding FCC supervision.

Even the moviemen who have long battled pay-TV had to concede that the premiere was promising. Only M-G-M and 20th Century-Fox have yet to agree to show their films. But that did not discourage movie fans. To the sponsoring Video Independent Theaters chain came more than 1,000 applications to hook into the system (price: $9.50 a month for about 30 movies, half of them first-run features). Video, which spent $270,000 to install the system, will break even with 1,500 regular customers, aims to get 4,000 subscribers from Bartlesville’s 8,000 TV homes.

If the Telemovie system proves a long-run success, Video plans to spread it across the U.S. to fatten its own chain of 112 movie houses and 63 drive-ins, broaden it to include live plays, sports and musical events.

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