Reelz plans VOD

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The entertainment-focused ReelzChannel will launch a free video-on-demand component for affiliates in June, according to executives.

The ReelzChannel content will include five- to seven-minute segments, focusing on two to three dozen movies available each month, either on premium cable or pay per view. Content may include clips from shows on the linear channel or its Web site, or programming that has not yet aired, according to senior vice president of affiliate relations John deGarmo.

ReelzChannel has been distributed as a linear network since September 2006 and now reaches 35 million cable and satellite homes. Affiliates have been asking for a VOD component, deGarmo said.

“When we're pitching distribution, what operators and distributors said is 'We like your content, but your message is that you'll help us sell other products. Prove it,'” deGarmo said.

So ReelzChannel conducted some subscriber research indicating its viewers purchase 24% more pay-per-view titles than non-viewers. Two ReelzChannel subscriber panels were formed; one group was asked to report their viewing habits each month, while a second was instructed to watch ReelzChannel and report its monthly viewing, deGarmo said.

That research showed the channel is a good “recommendation engine,” providing more actionable information than a menu of titles, he said. In the poll, 76% of the users said they found out about a movie they had never heard of by watching the channel; 21% watched a movie on premium services because of something they had seen on ReelzChannel. Another 16% ordered video-on-demand or pay-per-view titles because of ReelzChannel content, deGarmo said.

He added that 87% of those polled said ReelzChannel's localized “What2Watch“ promos were helpful when making a viewing decision.

DeGarmo vowed the VOD content will be “entertaining in its own right,” with clips from channel content such as Leonard Maltin's Secret's Out, Movie Up or The Big Tease.

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