HOLLYWOOD: Internet start-up PopTok has inked deals with a slew of movie and music studios that will allow emailers and instant message users to send each other short film clips.

The service has licensed content from CBS, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, SonyBMG, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers and Warner Music, dividing it into 2-5 second bits, or 'toks', to be used as emoticons.

Former Yahoo executive Scott Kauffman, now PopTok ceo, says the service will help content owners increase revenues from their libraries.

He declared: "This is an opportunity to breathe new life into content. [Cellphone] ring tones did that for the music industry and we are doing it for video."

The service works with most existing instant messaging and email applications; and PopTok plans eventually to include cellphones and social networks.

Added Kauffman: "The entertainment community really views this is as an opportunity. It's an opportunity to monetise back catalogues and promote new releases."

PopTok is backed by Mickey Schulhof, erstwhile ceo of Sony America and Jerusalem Venture Partners.

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