Continuing to take advantage of interactive technology, music-video channel Fuse will launch an on-demand music service featuring the latest in music videos and related programming.
The network next month will also debut a daily music countdown show that will allow viewers to download songs featured during the telecast, according to Fuse president Marc Juris.
The VOD service, which will be offered free to operators that carry Fuse, will provide up to 75 full-length music videos from top performing artists. The videos will be broken down into six primary categories, from rock and alternative to hip-hop and R&B, and refreshed on a bi-monthly basis based on viewer input, said Juris. Fuse has agreements with all the major record labels to offer the videos on an on-demand basis.
“You can pick videos individually or create and choose from a pre-programmed playlist based on the music you may like,” he said.
The Fuse on-demand announcement comes on the heels of a similar music video-based VOD service announced by Time Warner Cable and America Online Inc.
The digital-cable network, called My MC, will contain performances from AOL’s weekly concert series in addition to music videos from BMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.
My MC will offer up to 30 hours programming to be updated on an ongoing basis. The service will also contain a video barker window that tells viewers how to navigate the on-demand content, and music videos will be arranged in a menu by genre and artist.
Fuse executive vice president of distribution and affiliate marketing Kim Martin said the service has already rolled out in several Comcast systems and hopes to expand distribution to other MSOs in the near future.
Juris said the on-demand service will help operators push subscriber trials of its VOD offerings, as well as enhance the value of digital by providing free programming to digital subscribers.
“It acclimates people to VOD and how to use VOD,” he said. “It’s a minimal investment of time to watch a music video, and it helps drive interest and awareness of VOD because music has strong appeal to most consumers.”
Along with the on-demand service, Fuse is set to launch The Daily Download, a hour-long show that reveals the top downloaded music songs. Juris said the daily chart will be compiled from “various sources that keep track of music downloads,” but the network would not reveal specific companies.
In an effort to drive appointment viewing to Download, Juris said the network would allow viewers to legally download songs from its Web site (www.fuse.tv) as the network televises the video. From a sponsor standpoint, he added, advertisers could get the opportunity to place movie trailers, special promotions or product teasers for viewers to download.
“We’ll also offer value-added content such as [artist] interviews or a ringtone that you can download for your [cell] phone,” Juris said. “It’s one of the best expressions of converged entertainment that really does leverage what our audiences are doing, while taking the negative spin away from downloading and turning it into a positive.”
Another show, Fuse Clues, allows viewers to watch videos to find the clues that will help them answer puzzles about pop-culture references. Viewers then use their mobile phones to provide the answers, or go online to win prizes, Juris said.
“New shows like Fuse Clues and The Daily Download bring the interactivity and viewer empowerment to a new level for music lovers,” Juris said. “They are also a vibrant showcase for the potential and power of cross-platform programming — a new generation of television that can be best enjoyed with enhanced high-speed services.”