Atlanta -- Hoping to lure former Request Television
affiliates, TVN Entertainment Corp. yesterday announced the launch of three new
pay-per-view feeds for analog distribution.
TVN, which already offers a 32-channel, digital
near-video-on-demand movie and event service, will add three more digital channels June 1
that can be converted into analog signals, said Jim Ramo, president and COO for TVN. While
one channel will offer a mix of current hits similar to Request 1, the second and third
channels will feature a movie-of-the-week and movie-of-the-day format, Ramo said.
TVN will set affiliate fees similar to those of Viewer's
Choice and Request, but would not reveal specific figures. "We're not going to make
any changes in the economics of the business," Ramo said.
The move is in response to Request's decision last month to
close its doors June 30, leaving Viewer's Choice as the largest PPV service. "We've
received calls from [Request affiliates] wondering what we're doing," Ramo said.
"Since we have the infrastructure already in place, we could provide a service to
TVN is confident it will be able to sign up several
affiliates, but Ramo said the company is committed to the digital business. "This is
an interim move for some operators until it's time for them to go digital," said
Ramo. "We're focused on developing our NVOD business."
Nevertheless, at least one midsize Request affiliate is
interested in TVN's analog service. "I'm looking at all of our options, including
TVN," said the operator.
TVN is currently negotiating with the studios and event
distributors to license PPV programming for the new channels. "We have tremendous
support from the studios and we expect to continue those relationships," Ramo said.
At least one studio executive said that it would like
another outlet like TVN for its PPV movie product.
The new feeds will originate from the Galaxy 9 digital
satellite. TVN will offer free of charge to operators the converter boxes necessary to
receive the signal, Ramo said.
Through August 15, however, operators will be able to
receive the channels on the analog Galaxy 3R satellite.
In other TVN news, the network has booked a half dozen
cable affiliates for its new digital cable services.
TVN's 32-channel, digital NVOD programming service will be
launched this summer by Summit Cablevision, Seattle, and later by Summit systems in four
other northwestern markets.
Green Tree Cable plans a June launch for TVN's turnkey
service at its Louisa, Ky., system, while Marcus Cable Co. L.P.'s Burbank/Glendale,
Calif., system plans a July kickoff. Other operators planning TVN digital launches include
Cable America and Clinton Cable.
Along with the company's rollout in several Comcast Cable
systems representing about 1.5 million, TVN's digital service will be in front of 1.5
million households, Ramo said.
"After launching TVN Digital Cable Television only 16
weeks ago, the response from the cable community has been extremely positive," Ramo
said. "Cable operators recognize that they must deploy digital technology and
programming now to generate new revenue streams and remain competitive with DBS
[direct-broadcast satellite], home video and cable's other competitors."