Kasenna Rings Up Telcos With VOD Pitch

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Video-on-demand server vendor Kasenna Inc. is adding new features to its service set, packaging its separate content and service-delivery systems as a one-stop shop for telcos entering the IPTV space.

The company, which doubled its sales in 2004 and expects to triple them in 2005, is bringing together its MediaBase XMP server and vFusion network management system with its LivingRoom and vForge SDK software applications under the “Portal TV” moniker.

“We provide everything above the network layer,” Kasenna chairman and CEO Mark Gray said.

Kasenna also amalgamates content from major cable networks and Hollywood studios through its ViewNow division.

Gray said Kasenna’s open video system delivery platform allows telcos to cost-effectively provide VOD and ITV services. The company has deployed 7,000 servers worldwide, serving 3.5 million subscribers.

Kasenna, which built the core server technologies used in Time Warner Cable’s Full Service Network in Orlando, Fla., was spun off from Silicon Graphics in 2000.

It’s had some success in cable, with deployments in 14 markets, including Charter Communications Inc., Adelphia Communications Corp., PrairieWave Communications and Mid-Hudson Cablevision. Its largest deployment is Charter’s Madison, Wis., system.

Its telco service provider list includes SureWest Communications, SaskTel, FastWeb S.p.A., CenturyTel Inc., Hutchinson Telephone and All West Communications.

The vFusion network management system handles content distribution, data collection, monitoring, reporting and server management.

On the content side, its two products are its Kasenna’s Living Room and vForge SDK software. LivingRoom is the software that drives the applications — VOD, ITV and network digital video recording, Gray said. Telcos can design customized VOD screens. The vForge software functions as middleware, but goes beyond typical middleware capabilities, Gray said.

“It’s a plug-and-play framework to integrate with business and operational support systems,” Gray said.

All the software is designed to run on thin-client set-tops to reduce the cost to service providers, Gray said.

“We want this to run on the most inexpensive set-top box you can buy,” he said.

SUPERCOMM DEBUT

The Portal TV package will debut next week at the SuperComm conference in Chicago (June 6 to 9). “It’s a complete turnkey system,” Gray said. It can scale down to 500 subscribers or up to as many as 30 million.

An added piece to Portal TV are the capabilities of Kasenna’s ViewNow division. Like In Demand and TVN Entertainment Corp., ViewNow assembles content for service providers.

The company’s ViewNow division has signed content licensing agreements with a host of providers, including studios Warner Bros., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., Universal Studios, 20th Century-Fox, Dreamworks SKG, Lions Gate Films, New Line Cinema and Paramount Pictures. Negotiations with The Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures Entertainment are ongoing.

The company also has signed VOD and SVOD deals with Home Box Office, Showtime, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, Anime Network, Cable News Network, ESPN, The Golf Channel, Home & Garden Television, Food Network, Fine Living, Do It Yourself Network, Cartoon Network, Sportskool, National Geographic Channel, Speed Channel, Tech TV and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The company provides 300 hours of new release content to affiliates each month.

Kasenna also is ready to help IPTV providers market their video services, providing TV and radio spots, newspaper ads, direct mail pieces and bill inserts.

On the hardware side, Kasenna has completed set-top integration work with Motorola Inc., Scientific-Atlanta Inc., Pace Micro Technologies plc, Thomson Consumer Electronics and Amino Communications, among others.

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