Interactive Television Networks (ITVN), an independent broadband narrowcaster based in Irvine, Calif., negotiated the rights to carry movies from NBC Universal when the films are available in their video-on-demand window.
ITVN delivers programming streamed from the Web to its proprietary set-top. CEO Charles Prast said the company is banking on consumer desire to watch broadband programming on their television set rather than on a small computer monitor.
ITVN will sell the movies “competitively priced” with VOD offered from other sources, Prast said. Viewers will have 24 hours after they order the film during which they may view it.
The venture already has launched linear and VOD content through a deal with Starz Entertainment Group. That content was made available to consumers in September. The NBC content -- which will also include a 1,000-film library of titles one year old and older -- will be available for ITVN subscribers. The deal includes options that NBC U may exercise to buy shares in ITVN
The venture currently has 10,000 subscribers, according to Prast. The users are solicited through ads on Web sites, with the host earning $50 for a referral; and through promotion of the device through independent electronics dealers and satellite-dish retailers. Those sellers get a commission. Prast said the latter sell dish customers on broadband plus ITVN for a “broadband experience they don’t get with satellite.”
The hardware is provided to consumers free-of-charge if they make a 12-month commitment to the service.
ITVN’s niche is narrowcasting, Prast said, so the other programming includes such specialty fare as Lacrosse TV and Setanta Sports, featuring live European soccer and rugby.
More mainstream programming includes VOD music videos, a classic-movie channel and unlimited karaoke. Monthly packages -- such as one that accesses the music videos, broadband radio and classic movies -- cost as little as $9.95. The 14-channel package of Starz networks is $14.95.
Prast said he anticipates a deal with a major sports league and others for more linear live networks before the end of the year.