Canadian cable and wireless operator Rogers Communications on Monday debuted the beta version of On Demand Online, an Internet video service with more than 1,000 hours of TV shows, movies, music, sports and other content from 17 broadcast and studio partners, available for no extra charge to all of its subscribers.
Beginning Nov. 30, subscribers to any Rogers service -- cable TV, home phone, broadband or wireless phone service -- can register at www.rogersondemand.com to view content free from any streaming Internet connection within Canada. Rogers Cable customers will be able to access a selection of specialty programming online that corresponds to their cable TV subscription package.
The initial beta version of Rogers On Demand Online will include aggregated content from 17 broadcast and production partners and 30 channels, including Rogers-owned Citytv, Rogers Sportsnet, Setanta Sports, MTV Networks' Spike, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Food Network Canada, HGTV Canada, Big Ten Network, G4 Canada, Treehouse and the National Film Board of Canada.
Rogers also announced that Starcom MediaVest Group, on behalf of clients including Research In Motion, Kellogg's, Kraft and Samsung Electronics, have signed an exclusive launch advertising sponsorship deal for the Web TV service.
The operator had previously detailed plans to launch the On Demand Online service at the Multichannel News/B&C"OnScreen Media Summit" last month in New York.
"Rogers On Demand Online is an extension of the existing cable television model which customers have come to enjoy and rely on at home that truly revolutionizes the world of entertainment and provides the most convenient TV content access ever made available," Rogers vice president of video product management David Purdy said in a statement.
While at first the service is available only through personal computers, Rogers anticipates offering access to the video service via mobile phones in early 2010. The company is the largest provider of mobile phone service in Canada with 8.4 million subscribers, as well as the country's biggest MSO with 2.3 million basic cable TV subscribers.
Other content providers participating in the Rogers "TV Everywhere" service include: Global Television, which distributes House, Survivor, Heroes, NCIS and Glee in Canada; Super Channel, which distributes Burn Notice, The Closer and other shows; History Television; Aux.tv; Bite.tv; Galaxie MVOD; Maple Pictures; OLN; Slice; Showcase; Teletoon; TVO; TVtropolis; UFC; Michael Eisner's Vuguru; and YTV, which distributes shows, including SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly.
Comcast's thePlatform is handling the back-end management for Rogers On Demand Online. The site was designed by Conshohocken, Penn.-based Empathy Lab.
Separately, in the U.S., Comcast is gearing up for its own version of On Demand Online, which the company expects to launch across nationwide within the next two weeks.