Studio, Rogers Give Nod to VOD Service


The cable industry's push toward video-on-demand continued last week, as yet another MSO rolled out service and a major studio agreed to test the technology.

Toronto-based Rogers Cable Inc. became the first Canadian MSO to debut VOD, with plans to offer service to about 1,000 customers in Toronto over the next four months.

Rogers intends to widen its metro Toronto rollout through the year, and has set a goal to have 90 percent VOD coverage in its territory by the end of 2003;

The Rogers service will offer content from distributor Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution, which represents studios including Miramax Films, New Line Pictures and Artisan Entertainment. Viewers can select titles from a library of movies, concerts, documentaries and television series and watch them at any time in a 24-hour period. They can also stop, rewind, fast-forward and pause the movie during play.

Meanwhile, MGM Home Entertainment, a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Inc., is partnering with Internet VOD provider CinemaNow Inc. to offer certain titles in a field trial of consumer behavior and demand.

During the trial, CinemaNow will offer MGM titles on its Web site, including the Leonardo DiCaprio feature The Man in the Iron Mask
and the Martin Lawrence-Danny DeVito comedy What's the Worst That Could Happen?
The titles will be offered in streaming and downloadable formats.

As part of the trial, CinemaNow will offer the films at various prices and collect data regarding consumer responses.