New York -- Insight Communications said last week that it
will launch the new Interactive Channel from Source Media Inc.
The cable operator plans to deploy the digital interactive
service on all of its systems as they go digital, starting as soon as the fourth quarter
of this year.
The new version allows cable subscribers access to the Web,
as well as to locally produced and distributed information, such as news, weather and even
school-lunch menus. An earlier, analog version of Interactive Channel that was tested in
Century Communications Corp.'s system in Colorado Springs, Colo., did not offer Web
Markets where Insight is considering upgrading to digital
include Rockford, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; all of its systems in Indiana; and Griffin, Ga.,
said Michael Willner, president and CEO of Insight.
Willner said Insight has not yet determined whether it will
charge a separate fee for Interactive Channel, or whether the service will be bundled in
as part of a digital tier.
Tom Oliver, chairman and CEO of Interactive Channel, said
interactive services offer a highly differentiated product that will help cable operators
to market their digital rollouts. "If you're going to charge extra for digital
cable, you're going to have to add more substance," he added.