TCI Music is phasing in a strategy to integrate its three
cable and Internet networks in order to serve as a precursor to the services that it will
be able to offer music fans and operators in a convergent digital environment
The first phase begins in earnest later this year, when the
company will relaunch its Web sites for music-video service The Box and digital-audio
service DMX, said Tom McPartland, president and CEO of TCI Music.
The new site for The Box will be linked to TCI Music's
SonicNet Internet audio and video site to provide music consumers with several options
utilizing both the computer and the television set. McPartland said consumers will be able
to order their favorite music videos on The Box through the Internet, providing a second
ordering process, along with the traditional call-in 800 number.
Prior to ordering, however, consumers could actually
download 30-second previews of the videos via SonicNet, McPartland said. The site will
also provide consumers with the playlist of that system's particular version of the
Box. The service, which has 6 million cable homes, offers four digital-music-video
channels: Box Pulse, Box Edge, Box Urban and Box Classic. The Box also has two
Spanish-language digital-music-video channels: Box Exitos and Box Tejano.
"By going to the Web site and telling us where you
live, we'll be able to show which Box overlay is available," McPartland said.
"We believe that music fans have become more passionate about what they want, and
they want more control over how they consume music."
TCI Music is hoping that the successful integration of
SonicNet, The Box and DMX via the computer and television set will be a prelude to what
operators can offer through the new digital boxes, which will provide both cable and
"By integrating the television set and the computer
now, we're trying to demonstrate to cable operators and to the music consumer that we
can deliver some convergence in the music business through the digital set-top box,"
In other TCI Music news, McPartland denied that the company
is currently in discussions to merge The Box with Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.'s
MuchMusic video service, although he would not dismiss any move that would improve the
network's distribution numbers.
"Anything that we can do to accelerate The Box into
the cable plant is our top priority," McPartland said.
Representatives from Rainbow declined to comment on the