TBN Signs With IPTV Service Launching In 2011

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Trinity Broadcasting Network services will be distributed by Internet-based program aggregator World Inspirational Network, launching early in 2011, the companies said.

Subscribers to the planned IPTV network would use a wireless high-definition set-top device hooked to the TV set to access live faith-based programming and archived content, such as church services, movies and concerts, WIN founder and co-chairman Michael Jay Solomon said in a joint release with TBN.

WIN subscribers also will be able to access the programming on their computers, he said.

Solomon is the former head of Lorimar Telepictures and Warner Bros. International Television, according to his Web site, which also lists him as a co-founder of HBO Ole, now HBO Latin America.

Solomon also said in the release that WIN programming will include religious channels GOD TV, Daystar, Inspiration Network and the Parables movie network. He said it would be "the world's largest aggregator of faith-and-family cable and satellite channels as well as archived Christian video content."

"WIN is set to revolutionize the way hundreds of millions of viewers throughout America and the world integrate Christian content into their daily lives," Solomon said.

TBN owns and operates seven networks, also including the Church Channel, JCTV youth network, TBN Enlace USA (Spanish language) and Smile of a Child children's network. It owns broadcast stations and cable outlets and calls itself the world's largest religious broadcaster.

Bob Higley, VP of affiliate sales and marketing at TBN, said few cable affiliates -- including some Comcast and Charter systems -- carry all five of the TBN services that WIN and another IPTV-based religious aggregator, Sky Angel, offer. AT&T U-verse, based on an IPTV platform, carries all five TBN services, he said.

IPTV services, including NeuLion, look for niches, such as international channels, that tend to be underserved on mainstream cable and satellite platforms, Higley noted.

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