Pay-per-view and video-on-demand programmer In Demand L.L.C. plans to launch
a linear high-definition-TV-programming channel Sept. 1 -- filled with library
movies, general-entertainment fare and, perhaps, live professional-sports events
-- in a bid to help bolster cable's HD-program lineup.
In Demand executives envision this as the first of three planned channels
that would sit alongside ESPN HD, Discovery HD Theater and similar services
within programming tiers.
Operators appear to be moving in the direction of launching such tiers,
selling in the $6- to $9-per-month range, once they secure enough content.
In Demand has programming contracts with all of the major studios in some
form or another, as well as deals with Major League Baseball, the National
Basketball Association and the National Hockey League for out-of-market
In Demand chief operating officer Rob Jacobson said discussions with studios
are under way regarding library product.
The company is also talking with pro-sports leagues about carrying live games
that aren't subject to other rights deals.
In Demand has obtained HD rights to a handful of new movie releases for VOD,
including My Big Fat Greek Wedding from HBO Films; The Ring and
Catch Me if You Can from DreamWorks SKG; and Lord of the Rings: The
Two Towers, About Schmidt and Friday After Next from New Line
Any movie shot on film, even if it debuted 20 years ago, can be upconverted
to HD, Jacobson said.
In Demand currently has enough transponder capacity to launch the first HD
feed in September, he added.
At launch, InDemandHD plans to carry 12 hours of unique programming each day,
repeated once, so the entire schedule will always be in HD.
The channel will feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio when available and showcase
content in the 1080i (interlaced) format.
Additional channels In Demand hopes to launch will focus on movies and