Walt Disney Company has unveiled a new broadband content distribution system that it believes could take off around the world.

Disney is debuting the 'datacasting' technology – for which it has an exclusive licence – in three US cities, where consumers will be offered movies on demand.

Dubbed MovieBeam, this pilot involves distributing set-top boxes equipped with a hard disc able to store 100 films. New movies will then be transmitted to these devices using the existing broadcast spectrum. Viewers will have to pay only when they decide to watch one of the films from the box.

But Disney believes this is only the start. The media mammoth is confident the system can be used to deliver TV shows and music, especially in countries that have not yet invested in high-tech satellite and cable television. It is already in talks to license the technology overseas.

MovieBeam is part of Disney's campaign to gain greater control over the distribution of its content. To this end, it is planning to launch a mobile phone service next year based around its ESPN sports network.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff