Intertainer to Offer A & E Shows on VOD


Intertainer Inc. will distribute original shows and movies from A & E Television Networks via video-on-demand under a comprehensive content agreement between the two parties.

The deal, announced last Tuesday, allows the on-demand content provider to offer selected programming from A & E and The History Channel on a pay-per-view and VOD basis starting in February. Programming will be available on both Intertainer's digital-cable VOD platform and its broadband-Internet VOD platform starting in February, representatives from both companies said.

Neither party would provide specific details on available content, though episodes of A &E's popular Biography, hosted by Harry Smith, will be available.

It's also unclear if Intertainer will offer episodes individually or as part of a package. No suggested retail prices have been determined.

The deal is A & E's first VOD agreement, although the programmer said it's talking to other distributors about similar content arrangements. In Demand, the leading cable PPV distribution service, has also aggressively courted basic-cable networks for on-demand deals. It has announced pacts with Comedy Central and Courtroom Television Network.

AETN senior vice president of affiliate sales David Zagin said the Biography
shows available via VOD would most likely be older episodes.

"We have pre-approved thousands of hours of programming from our library," he said. "Through this arrangement, we get to expand the platforms for our product as well as refine our relationships with our distributors."

Zagin admitted the shows may not draw a significant amount of revenue. But over time, he said, "it has a lot of revenue potential."

The two companies will also collaborate on interactive content that would allow viewers to delve deeper into the program for more information, as well as take advantage of electronic-commerce opportunities.

"One of the real positives of the deal is that A & E was receptive to interactive enhancements that we could take advantage of," Intertainer executive vice president of content and marketing Mark Sonnenberg said. "We hope to do a lot of cool things with A & E."

Intertainer has similar output deals with such networks as ESPN, Discovery Channel and Home & Garden TV.

"Cable programming such as the Biography
and History's Mysteries
from The History Channel, and much more under the A & E Television Networks banner.will be a huge hit with our viewers," Sonnenberg said.

Also on Tuesday, Intertainer said it reached a deal to offer its users music videos from EMI Recorded Music's library on a VOD basis. EMI's labels include Capitol Records, Priority Records, Virgin Records America and Blue Note Records, among others.

Music videos will be available free of charge on all Intertainer platforms, Sonnenberg said. While watching a video, an Intertainer user can review a track list from the artist's current release, purchase current or past releases and find out more information about the performer.

Intertainer will also work with EMI to market and promote new and established artists.