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Liberate, Signatures team

Oct 14, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Liberate Technologies last week announced plans for an on-demand music channel and detailed its new technical direction in the wake of its recent Sigma Systems acquisition.
The company has partnered with Signatures Network to create on-demand music programming for digital networks. The application combines Signatures’ content with Liberate software to allow viewers to customize a music channel based on their interests. The service is designed as a subscription video-on-demand product or for pay-per-view events. Market trials should begin early next year.
This summer Liberate acquired Sigma Systems, a provider of back-office services for cable operators, and has fully integrated Sigma’s product suite with its own. Liberate can now broaden its offerings from middleware into network infrastructure, said Don Fitzpatrick, chief operating officer for Liberate in San Carlos, Calif. Much like the cable industry of the past few years, the ITV business has ushered in a wave of consolidation, as evidenced by another recent merger-that of Open TV, Wink and ACTV late last month.
The near-term opportunities for cable operators in ITV lie in reducing cost and lowering churn rather than in content, Mr. Fitzpatrick said. The union of Liberate and Sigma will make life easier for their cable operator customers. “The network operator does not want to have 50 technology suppliers, but rather three or four,” he said.
Liberate’s new product suite marries the back-office functions of Sigma with the front-end capabilities of Liberate. It allows cable operators to reduce their expenditures through more automation, such as in the provisioning of broadband equipment such as modems and IP telephony products, Mr. Fitzpatrick said.
The line also will allow customers to order services via the remote. Liberate’s instant messaging, chat and e-mail capabilities will be combined with Sigma’s back-end provisioning support to enable consumer contact with tech support via e-mail or messaging, he said.