After several months of field trials, TelVue Corp. will
begin offering its "Internet Pay-Per-View" ordering system to all of its
affiliate systems this month.
The system allows cable subscribers with access to the
Internet to order PPV movies and events and to watch them on their cable-equipped TV sets.
TelVue began field trials of the Internet PPV ordering
system in October, in conjunction with Prevue Networks and Comcast Corp. in seven northern
New Jersey cable systems, said Don Decinque, vice president of new-business development
for the company.
The trials allowed subscribers to register for the service
one time, on an automated basis, using their home telephones. From then on, subscribers
were able to enter the "pass code" that they registered over the telephone on
the Internet ordering form.
TelVue said trial results showed that subscribers were at
least interested in the service: The ratio of Internet registrations-to-actual orders was
about four to one.
"This means that people like the concept, and they
signed up to use the service even if they did not have a specific movie in mind to
order," said Frank Carcione, president of TelVue.
Decinque also said the trial uncovered a number of PPV
"nevers" who used the Internet to order PPV movies and events.
"We were able to create some PPV traffic that had not
been there before," he added.
Adelphia Cable Communications also used Internet PPV
ordering on a limited basis for the Mike Tyson-Francois Botha fight Jan. 16, but Decinque
said it was too early to tell how many of the MSO's orders came from the Internet.
Beginning this week, TelVue will provide its more than 700
affiliates with a complete Internet Web-site-ordering package that can be branded by the
cable system, said Joseph Murphy, executive vice president of sales for TelVue.
The package contains Web pages that provide for PPV
ordering over the Internet, links to PPV schedules and program-content Web sites.
The package can be linked to a cable system's existing Web
site, or TelVue can host the package for the cable system at www.ppvorder.com.
"Cable subscribers can find out what's on, when it's
on and what channel it's on, and order it right then and there," Murphy said.
"This means that even if a system does not have a Web site or its own server, it can
still offer its own branded PPV Internet ordering."
Decinque said the cost to subscribers is nominal, with
actual Internet orders costing no more than "a nickel" higher than traditional
telephone orders. Operators would have to pay less than $1,000 for the building of the Web
site, along with a nominal monthly maintenance fee.
TelVue also said it has filed a patent application for its
Internet PPV process and several other procedures that allow cable subscribers to control
their addressable cable converters using the Internet and their home personal computers.