VOD provider TVN Entertainment is investing $28 million in its infrastructure and technology to support advanced on-demand services. As part of the investment, TVN is planning a dramatic expansion of its high-definition content.
TVN chief operating officer Doug Sylvester said the company currently offers “several hundred hours” of HD content each month as part of an overall VOD offering of 8,000 to 8,500 hours. TVN is planning to increase capacity to meet growing demand for HD content by consumers and operators.
“Comcast and Verizon have talked about numbers in 1,000 plus hours per month of high-def content on demand so we are planning to be at that level by the end of the calendar year,” Sylvester said.
While HD is an important part of the new $28 million investment, Sylvester noted that TVN is also responding to an overall growth in VOD content and the fact that they need to supply content in multiple formats for standard-definition and high-definition in MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Providing multiple formats adds to the storage and capacity needed by TVN.
“The total amount of content that we manage today is almost 50% higher than it was just a year ago,” Sylvester said.
To address those needs, TVN recently added 40 terabytes of storage and added a third transponder to support distribution of multiple formats and the increase in its HD VOD content.
Sylvester also noted that studios and content owners are making more of their content available in HD.
“Right now about one quarter of the titles available from the studios are on HD but, from what they’ve told us, they plan over time to offer a full complement of new releases and library product in HD,” he said.
Currently, TVN’s HD VOD offering is about one-third transactional content, one-third premium and one-third from broadcasters and basic cable, Sylvester said.
Generally, pricing for new Hollywood movies on demand in HD is about $2 more than standard-def but consumers don’t seem to be balking at the price. Preliminary data suggests that buy rates among similar titles and similar groups of customers are 50% higher for HD titles, Sylvester said.