In Demand Gets VOD Rights to Court Shows

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In Demand, continuing its effort to acquire non-movie video-on-demand content, secured distribution rights for several of Courtroom Television Network's original series.

Under the agreement, In Demand will offer episodes of the popular Court TV series
Crime Stories

and
Mugshots

over its digital-cable VOD platform, said In Demand senior vice president of distribution and product development Rob Jacobson. The PPV network will offer 36 episodes of the twoseries; additional shows will be available in the future.

The show will retail for a suggested 95 cents per episode or be sold in two-hour blocks for $1.95.

The deal reflects Court TV's interest in seeking new and innovative ways to generate incremental revenue from its original shows, said network director of acquisitions and scheduling Ron Daniel.

"We are thrilled to partner with In Demand to utilize this exciting new technology and extend
Crime Stories

and
Mugshots

to VOD," Daniel said.

Jacobson said the deal is part of an In Demand mandate to acquire original and unique content for its VOD service. Recently, the network reached a deal with Comedy Central to distribute episodes of
South Park

and
Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist

via the service, which is currently testing in several systems.

"Supplying content for VOD helps reinforce our position as a viable in-home entertainment brand, proprietary to cable," Jacobson said.

The development of non-movie VOD programming will play a major role in differentiating cable's services from those of its competitors, according to several industry executives.

In particular, original programming from services like Home Box Office, Showtime Networks Inc. and Encore Media Group, available through subscription VOD, could draw users to the new technology, said executives at a Kagan Associates VOD Summit event last week.

"Original product has an important role in an on demand model," Showtime senior vice president of business development Judith Pless said. "[Consumers] want to have a variety of programming offerings, with original movies and events a big part of that offering."

Cable could also gain a competitive advantage over its competitors by offering educational and other niche programming on a VOD basis, LightSpan Inc. broadband services chief Skip Harris said.

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