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Cable Nets Working to Supply VOD Programs, Packages

Jul 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Now that video-on-demand reaches nearly 10 million homes, many cable networks have introduced on-demand programs. Others, like Discovery, Lifetime and Universal Television Networks, are currently developing their first on-demand packages.
That’s a marked change from the debut of the service a few years ago, when VOD was all about movies. Today the service is more identified with subscription video-on-demand and the best of cable programming, said Ed Huguez, president and CEO of VOD server maker MidStream.
“More and more programmers will step up to the plate and make their best product available. That’s what will drive it over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.
Programmers and operators will continue to experiment with both ad-supported packages and pay-to-play ones over the next year, said Kevin Cohen, senior VP and general manager, interactive and enhanced television, Turner Network Sales. Programmers are eager to understand the impact on-demand viewing will have on their linear networks and to quantify viewership for VOD. In addition, CTAM’s On-Demand Marketing Consortium is working on standardization and devising a ratings system for VOD.
“We need to know what the viewing is and quantify it for different advertisers,” Mr. Cohen said. “Do [consumers] watch advertising more than once? Do they watch ads over and over again? Do they rewind?” he said.
Universal Television Networks is currently developing an SVOD package that would include content from USA, Trio and Sci Fi, said Doug Holloway, president of affiliate sales and distribution at Universal.
The offering will feature about 20 hours of content each week from the three networks and Universal’s library. Some titles will be exclusive to the VOD platform and won’t have aired on the linear channel.
“We see the SVOD model really being complementary to our networks. We don’t want people going to SVOD and not to our networks,” he said.
The package should be available in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year.
Also important to grow the category is consumer education, said Judy Pless, senior VP digital media group at Showtime. “I think there is confusion about, `Should I click on this? Do I buy it or is it free?”’ she said.
According to a July report by the Yankee Group, VOD homes purchase two to three movies per month at more than $4 each and spend about $3 to $7 monthly for an SVOD package.
VOD Services by Cable Channel (a select list)
VOD: Video-on-demand
SVOD: Subscription video-on-demand
FOD: Free on-demand
ABC Family-No VOD
A&E on Demand-Launch: September 2001; Titles per month: 5-10; Refresh Rate: 20 percent each week; Type of Package: FOD, VOD and/or SVOD, but it can be bundled by operator as an included cost or sold incrementally; Logline: biography, original movies, documentaries and specials themed to current events, holidays, and recent PPV and theatrical movie releases.
Anime Network-Launched: December 2002; Titles per month: 15-30, varying by operator in sci-fi, comedy, martial arts and action; Refresh Rate: 15-30 titles per refresh, with 2-4 episodes per title, Cablevision refreshes every four weeks, Comcast and RCN every six; Type of package: SVOD or FOD, varying by operator; Logline: Japanese animation.
The Biography Channel on Demand-Launched: September 2002; Titles per month: 5-10; Refresh rate: 20 percent each week; Type of package: FOD, VOD and/or SVOD, but it can be bundled by operator as an included cost or sold incrementally; Logline: Biography, original series and mini-features about interesting people.
Bravo-No VOD
Cartoon Network/ Boomerang-Launched: November 2002; Titles: About 10 hours monthly; Refresh rate: 20 percent weekly; Type of package: SVOD or FOD, depending on operator; Logline: Currently, “Ed, Edd and Eddy” & “Time Squad” from Cartoon, “Smurfs & Scooby Doo” from Boomerang. Cartoons change every four weeks.
Cinemax on Demand-Launched: June 2002 (Time Warner Cable, Green Bay, Wis.); Titles per month: 80 titles per month; Refresh rate: 25 percent each week; Type of package: SVOD-sold a la carte, bundled or included with HBO digital, depending on operator; Logline: Top Hollywood theatricals, documentaries and late-night programming.
Court TV-Launched: November 2002; Titles per month: 10 hours; Refresh rate: 25 percent each month; Type of package: FOD; Logline: Highest-rated and most-watched investigative documentaries, including “Forensic Files,” “Dominick Dunne’s Power Privilege and Justice” and “I Detective.”
CNN-Date Launched: July 2002; Titles: About 10 hours monthly; Refresh rate: 25 percent weekly; Type of package: Free on-demand (Ad-Supported); Logline: archived episodes of “Larry King Live,” “CNN Presents,” “People in the News,” short-form content.
Discovery Communications-The company is currently in discussions with cable operators about launching Discovery On Demand, an SVOD service. It will include Discovery hits, adventure, travel, kids, how-to, world cultures, science and technology and local life. The package may include free on-demand content.
Disney Channel on Demand-Launched: October 2002; Titles per month: varies by operator; Refresh rate: varies by operator; Type of package: SVOD (as either a stand-alone a la carte package or within a broader genre package); Logline: Disney Channel programming.
DIY On Demand-Launched: November 2001; Titles per month: 20-24 shows (about 18 hours); Refresh rate: 20 percent each week; Type of package: Free VOD; Logline: Original programming and compilations that provide step-by-step instructions and information for how-to and hobbies projects.
E! Presents Comcast On Demand-Launched: February 2003; Titles per month: 4 (weekly barker show); Refresh rate: weekly; Type of package: FOD; Logline: Barker channel with information on entertainment, sports and kids programming.
ESPN Video On Demand- Launched: September 1999; Titles per month: Currently includes 180 titles culled from 3,000 hours of the ESPN Library. 6-8 new titles added each month; Refresh rate: 25 percent to 50 percent monthly; Type of package: VOD and SVOD, no free VOD; Type of content: National, local, seasonal, time-shifted programming, including ESPN original movies, ESPN Classic Sports Century, NBA, boxing, NASCAR and others.
Fine Living On Demand-Launched: June 2003; Titles Per Month: 20-22 shows (approx. 18 hours); Refresh rate: 20 percent each week; Type of package: Free VOD; Logline: Original programming and compilations organized around lifestyle topics such as simple living and trips, cars and fun.
Food Network On Demand-Launched: November 2001; Titles per month: 17-20 shows (approx. 18 hours); Refresh rate: 20 percent each week; Type of package: Free VOD; Logline: Original programming and compilations of dishes organized by chef and style.
Fox Cable Networks: `24′ On Demand-Launched: May 2002; Titles per month: Up to 24; Refresh Rate: New episodes available after airing on primary network; Type of package: SVOD, VOD (PPV); Logline: Thriller follows Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who leads a counterterrorist unit.
Fox Cable Networks: `The Shield’ On Demand-Launched: May 2002; Titles per month: Up to 13; Refresh rate: New episodes available after airing on primary network; Type of package: SVOD, VOD (PPV); Logline: Golden Globe-winning cop drama stars Michael Chiklis as an L.A. cop.
Game Show Network-No VOD.
Hallmark Channel-Previously offered through iN Demand. Currently not available.
HBO On Demand-Launched: July 2001; Titles per month: Over 100 titles at any given time; Refresh rate: 25 percent weekly; Type of package: SVOD-sold a la carte, bundled or included with HBO digital, depending on operator; Logline: HBO original programming, including series, specials and kids as well as top Hollywood theatricals.
HGTV On Demand-Launched: November 2001; Titles per month: 20-22 shows (about 18 hours); Refresh rate: 20 percent weekly; Type of package: Free VOD; Logline: Original programming and compilations covering building, decorating and gardening.
The History Ch
annel On Demand-Launched: September 2001; Titles per month: 5-10 titles; Refresh rate: 20 percent weekly; Type of package: FOD, VOD and/or SVOD, but it can be bundled by operator in an included cost or sold incrementally; Logline: Historical documentaries and special presentations themed to current events, holidays and recent PPV and theatrical movie releases.
Independent Film Channel: IFC On Demand-Launched: December 2002; Titles per month: varies; Refresh rate: varies; Type of package: SVOD; Logline: IFC films offered on-demand.
Independent Film Channel: Uncensored On Demand-Launched: Projected Fall; 2003; Titles per Month: 20 monthly; Refresh Rate: Monthly; Type of Package: SVOD; Logline: Documentaries, films, series and made-for-TV programs that have been banned from mainstream TV.
Lifetime-In development.
Mag Rack-Launched: September 2001; Titles per month: 40 hours; Refresh rate: 25 percent weekly; Type of package: FOD; Logline: A collection of special-interest magazines designed for VOD.
MTV Networks-No VOD.
National Geographic Channel On Demand-Date Launched: November 2002; Titles per month: 10 hours; Refresh rate: varies; Type of package: varies; Logline: Signature programming from the National Geographic Channel’s library.
NBC/NBC Cable Networks-Launched: November 2002; Titles per month: “Meet the Press”: (1 hour/week); “Dateline NBC”: (varies, 1 to 4 hours/week, available for 10 days); “NBC Nightly News”: (3.5 hours per week); NBC local news (a.m. 2 hours, weekday p.m. 1/2-hour = 17.5 hours/ week) roughly 23 hours/week to 27 hours/week or 92 to 108 hours/month (4-week month); Refresh rate: daily for daily shows, weekly for weekly shows; Type of package: Free on-demand; Logline: local and national NBC News programming.
Oxygen-In development.
Sci Fi-In development for a Q4 2003 or Q1 2004 launch
Showtime On Demand-Launched: September 2001; Titles per month: 120 hours; Refresh rate: 25 percent weekly; Type of package: SVOD; Logline: Hollywood hit films, Showtime original programming, boxing and specials.
Speed Channel On Demand-Launched: November 2002; Titles per month: 10-20 hours; Refresh rate: varies; Type of package: varies; Logline: features motorsports.
Starz On Demand-Date Launched: September 2001; Titles per month: 100 movies per month; Refresh rate: 25 percent each week; Type of package: SVOD, but it can be bundled by operator in an included cost or sold incrementally; Logline: Exclusive first-run and classic Hollywood movies.
Sundance Channel VOD-Launched: October 2002; Titles per month: 15-20 hours; Refresh rate: 10 percent monthly; Type of package: FOD; Logline: Independent film, documentaries, and Sundance Channel original programming.
TBS-VOD is currently under consideration.
TCM-VOD is currently under consideration.
TechTV-Launched: May 2003; Titles per month: 20 shows per month (about 10 hours); Refresh rate: 25 percent each week; Type of package: FOD; Logline: Original documentaries, anime, tech product reviews and how-to titles.
TMC On Demand-Launched: July 2003; Titles per month: 50 hours; Refresh rate: 25 percent weekly; Type of package: SVOD; Logline: action movies, classic movies, dramatic movies, funny movies, midnight movies.
TNT-VOD is currently under consideration.
Trio-In development for a Q4 2003 or Q1 2004 launch.
USA-In Development for a Q4 2003 or Q1 2004 launch.