A new, independently owned company is hoping to tap into the lucrative fitness and children's education markets through several subscription video-on-demand services.
Studio 4 Networks is offering cable operators three SVOD networks: Studio 4 Learning, Studio 4 Kids and Studio 4 Fitness — plus Kids Unlimited, a pre-teen targeted service created as part of a partnership with VOD distributor TVN Entertainment — all of which focus on educational and fitness programming derived from various home-video based titles.
"We've been able to license the video-on-demand rights to some of the top-selling programming in the education and the fitness category, and brand that and distribute it through our own VOD networks," company founder and CEO Ed Stansfield said.
The channels are sold by subscription, at prices ranging from $4.95 to $6.95 per month, executive vice president David McFarland said.
The SVOD approach — the domain of such established pay services as Home Box Office and Showtime — helps differentiate the service from other non-pay VOD offerings.
The Studio 4 Learning channel will feature programming for middle school and high school students, as well as adult learners. Studio Kids will offer developmental programming for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and elementary students.
Studio 4 Fitness features such fitness programming from such disciplines as yoga, tai chi and Pilates targeted to women 25 to 49, Stansfield said.
The fourth channel, Kids Unlimited, features programming targeted to infants to young children from such networks as PBS Kids and Scholastic Entertainment.
Typically averaging 30 minutes to one hour in length, Stansfield said such programming is popular on home video mainly because consumers have control over when and how they want to watch it.
"Programming like that hasn't been popular on television because people need to watch it on an on demand fashion," he said. "VOD is a more sophisticated way of delivering on demand product than the home video business. The viewing patterns of home video will eventually migrate to the VOD platform."
The four SVOD channels currently reach about 5 million homes served by Adelphia Communications Corp., Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications and Charter Communications, McFarland said.
Combined, Stansfield said the packages offer about 40 hours of programming, with programs refreshed 25% each month.
"It's evergreen programming that parents or students want to see over and over again," he said. "There's always a core group of people that are interested in Spanish tutorial programs or the infant targeted content, so that tends to remain in the package for a long period of time."
While currently airing through TVN, McFarland said the services are available to In Demand and other SVOD and VOD distributors.