Music Choice Inks VOD-Music Deals

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Music Choice is tapping the music-video realm in a big way, signing deals that will prompt a branded video-on-demand gambit from Comcast Corp. later this month and open the door to a customized video-play-list application for Mediacom Communications Corp. next year.

The music network has inked a long-term contract extension with Comcast that will give the nation’s largest MSO access to myriad videos for its on-demand business.

The deal also includes provisions for interactive applications, including the creation of audio/video play lists for broadband subscribers.

For its part, Mediacom plans a video expansion of the “My Music Choice” service it has been offering in Moline, Ill., where subscribers have been creating their own audio-only channels.

Music Choice CEO David Del Beccaro said the company’s catalog extends to thousands of videos in an array of genres.

He added that subscribers, via TV remote or mouse, can click on the “videos” button on the different Music Choice channels and select from a variety of music videos listed by current artist, genre or the “Music Choice Top 10,” choosing one video or building an entire play list that will play the videos in the order requested.

As for utilizing My Music Choice, viewers scroll through a few screens that prompt them to choose the types of music by genre and subgenre, set the mix of their channel and enter the name for their customized channels.

In addition to these services, Music Choice is launching Music Choice TV, a service that will feature an extensive selection of concerts, exclusive artist performances filmed at the company’s studios, interviews and other long-form programming.

All of the services are free, as Music Choice will look to drive more ad dollars through targeted advertising delivery.

Mediacom executive vice president of operations John Pascarelli said the MSO will move forward with the customized-TV video play list sometime in the first half of 2005 in an undisclosed market.

Comcast will take a branded Music Choice path in late November, when Page Thompson, VP of marketing for new video products, said the MSO will “launch hundreds of music videos” across a variety of genres. That number will ramp up considerably going forward, as Comcast “taps a very, very large library.”

Thompson said Comcast is also “looking forward to working with the labels through Music Choice. Our interest is in pushing fresh, exclusive videos.”

Comcast has high hopes for Music Choice on an on-demand basis, stating that music is already one of the MSO’s leading categories. “It’s definitely top five, up there with children’s and NFL Network,” Thompson said. “And that’s with a limited music selection.”

Thompson declined to specify Comcast’s interactive-TV plans with Music Choice, other than to say, “We’re working on some opportunities.”

On the broadband side, a Comcast spokeswoman said the customized audio/video-play-list content would likely be available on Comcast.net (www.comcast.net) by year-end.

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