Showtime Plans Video Game Service

Jan 8, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Showtime Networks plans to launch a new broadband gaming business in the second quarter that it will market to cable operators, joining Turner Broadcasting as an entertainment company branching out into video games.

Showtime’s service, called On Broadband Networks, is a joint venture with gaming company Broadband Libraries. The service is not connected to Showtime’s programming lineup and will operate as a new business line for the premium network, the company said Thursday.

On Broadband is designed as a private-label gaming network that cable operators can offer to high-speed Web customers. The gaming service will include several pricing options: free games, more than 500 games for purchase and a subscription offering.

“We are now hitting critical mass of high-speed homes, so a product like this makes economic sense in terms of its potential reach,” said Matt Blank, chairman and CEO of Showtime Networks. “We like this category and sense it is a great category for us to be in.”

Showtime will begin marketing the service to cable operators later this month. The network has not inked any deals yet for distribution.

Mr. Blank said he was attracted to the new venture because it takes advantage of Showtime’s existing relationships with distributors.

“We deal with them constantly and we have long experience in selling subscriptions, selling transactions, marketing and promotion on a local level,” he said.

Showtime’s new service follows a video-game effort launched by Turner Broadcasting in 2005, when the company created GameTap, an online subscription service for games.