Barnes & Noble boosts Nook Video with Paramount, MGM content deals

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Barnes & Noble is expanding its Nook Video movie and television catalog, announcing content licensing agreements with major Hollywood studios including Paramount Pictures, MGM, Lionsgate and Relativity Media. The bookseller has also inked video deals with National Geographic, digital entertainment distributor FilmBuff and Little Pim, which produces foreign-language instructional DVDs for children.

The new agreements add thousands of feature films and television programs to the Nook Video library. Highlights include the Twilight movie series, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, Rocky and Fargo, alongside cable programs like Mad Men and Border Wars.

Barnes & Noble unveiled Nook Video in September. The service enables consumers to stream and download feature films and television programming to devices including the bookseller's Android-based Nook tablet as well as smartphones, tablets and connected TVs from other manufacturers. Nook Video launched with content from HBO, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Viacom, Warner Bros. Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios: Titles are available in both standard and high-definition formats, with all content stored in the cloud, enabling a consumer to begin watching a video on one supported device and continue the viewing experience on another device wherever it left off.

Nook Cloud additionally integrates with DVD and Blu-ray discs encoded with the UltraViolet digital rights authentication system, enabling UltraViolet digital content playback across Nook devices and Nook Video apps as well as through third-party apps.

Barnes & Noble will look to the new video partnerships to boost interest in the Nook tablet and e-reader platform: The company's Nook Media unit, which includes hardware as well as e-books and digital media, slumped 25.9 percent year-over-year during the 2012 holiday season to $316 million, but noted that content sales increased 6.8 percent compared to year-ago totals. Barnes & Noble said it remains committed to the Nook Media business despite its recent struggles, dismissing a recent New York Times report indicating the bookseller plans to move away from engineering and building Nook e-readers and tablets in favor of licensing its digital content to other device manufacturers.

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