Time Warner Eyes ‘Clips’ Service

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Atlanta -- Time Warner Cable plans to add a “Quick Clips” short-form video feature to its video-on-demand offering, hoping to cash in on the increasing amount of content being created by programmers for broadband Web sites.

The MSO plans to launch the service May 1, with video clips from CNBC shows, according to executive vice president of product management Peter Stern in an interview at the National Show here last week.

He said Time Warner is in discussions with four to five other programmers about bringing short-form video and content created for their Web sites to its VOD platform.

CNBC owner NBC Universal hasn’t determined what content to provide, NBC U Cable senior vice president J.B. Perrette said, adding that the programmer is intrigued by the concept.

More and more cable programmers are adding video content to their Web sites, and several have created separate broadband channels on the Web, such as MTV: Music Television’s “Overdrive” service and Comedy Central’s “Motherload” from MTV Networks; “Trio Plus” from NBC U’s Bravo; and Scripps Networks programming on HGTV.com (www.hgtv.com) and Food.com (www.foodnetwork.com).

Programmers also have created broadband-content packages sold directly to cable and telephone companies for their high-speed-Internet services, such as “ESPN360” and “Disney Blast.”

Only Verizon Communications Inc. and some smaller cable companies are carrying the ESPN360 and Disney content, save for a Disney Blast deal with Comcast Corp.

Programmers have found that cable companies did not want to pay extra for carrying those services, but Stern said Time Warner Cable is open to that concept, adding, “We’ll consider subscription services.”

Stern said Time Warner, the second-largest U.S. cable firm, plans to distribute Quick Clips content to VOD servers through its national fiber network. Content would be on the MSO’s servers within 15 minutes of entering the network, Stern said, which is important for the timely news clips CNBC likely would provide.

He added that Time Warner’s new “Navigator” guide, which it will roll out later this year, will link a cable programmer’s linear channel to its Quick Clips and VOD programming.

In the past, cable subscribers would tune to a separate channel to get the on-demand lineup of, say, Food Network on Time Warner, Stern said.

With the new guide, viewers will be able to press the “Enhanced TV” button on the remote control while watching a network’s scheduled programming and see links for “Start Over”; Quick Clips; the HD feed of that network, if it exists; the network’s on-demand lineup; and “Look Back,” eventually, all while staying on the “linear” channel, Stern said.

For more on Time Warner’s Quick Clips, please see Matt Stump’s story on page 10 of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.

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