Viewers Choice Gains L.A. Presence


In an effort to strengthen its relationships with Hollywood
studios, Viewer's Choice will relocate several of its programming executives to Los
Angeles this summer.

The pay-per-view network will move as many as seven
movie-programming and schedule-planning executives, including senior vice president of
programming Michael Klein, to a yet-to-be-determined West Coast office, network executives

The network's executives handling event programming will
remain in New York.

"We want to be close to the studios, as well as the
talent community, to improve relationships with all parties and to develop other
programming opportunities," Klein said. "Viewer's Choice's main office will
still be in New York, but we're looking to expand our reach and operations."

With Hollywood movies comprising most of the programming
for Viewer's Choice's 35 PPV channels, president Mindy Herman said the move would
certainly help to develop stronger programming and potential marketing ties with the major

"A lot of our growth will be on the movie side, so
it's important to us to have a presence on the West Coast, as well as the East
Coast," Herman added.

Industry observers said the move might help the industry in
its efforts to develop better PPV windows and to encourage more active participation from
the studios in PPV-marketing efforts.

And as the industry moves more toward digital near-video-on-demand and VOD operations, it
would benefit from having its largest PPV network within reach of the studios.

"It certainly is a very good strategic move for
[Viewer's Choice]," one major MSO PPV executive said.

The move marks one of several major programming-oriented
initiatives recently implemented by the network, many coming after Herman's arrival
earlier this year.

Last month, Viewer's Choice announced a reformatting of its
35-channel PPV service, which provides a single programming lineup for both its analog and
digital services.

Along with the scheduling change, the network also enhanced
its barker channels to emphasize the network's half-hour NVOD movie starts.

Two weeks ago, the network hired former DirecTV Inc.
executive Rob Jacobson as senior vice president, distribution and product development.
Jacobson is expected to help the network to secure new programming deals, including the
major professional-sports out-of-market packages.

The network also paid a 20 percent upfront guarantee to
secure early window rights to Buena Vista's The Waterboy, which premiered last

Prior to the deal, only TVN Entertainment Corp. and
direct-broadcast satellite service DirecTV Inc. paid guarantees for early-window releases.