New York -- Viewer's Choice last week finalized its
deal to move its 35-channel near-video-on-demand pay-per-view channels to three C-band
transponders on Loral Skynet's Telstar 5 beginning in October.
The move will free up space on Tele-Communications
Inc.'s Headend in the Sky digital platform, which currently uplinks the PPV channels.
Viewer's Choice, however, will continue to offer eight channels of PPV via HITS for
operators that want to provide a limited PPV lineup, the network said.
TCI has yet to announce which services will occupy the
channel slots once Viewer's Choice moves.
Viewer's Choice will uplink to both satellites during
October to provide time for its affiliates to switch to the new satellite. The network
said the transition should be smooth for operators: The Telstar 5 satellite is currently
home to Spice, which many operators are already downlinking.
"We are very pleased to be able to offer our
affiliates this improved digital service, which will enable them to offer the very best
choice, convenience and service to their customers," said Jim Heyworth, president and
CEO of Viewer's Choice, in a prepared statement.
"Loral Skynet's Telstar 5 satellite is an ideal
place for us to transmit this improved package from, and we're delighted to have
reached an agreement with Loral Skynet that enables us to do so," Heyworth added.
Telstar 5 will become one of four satellites that
Viewer's Choice will use to provide its 36-channel NVOD service to its cable
In addition to the three new transponders on Telstar 5,
Viewer's Choice will continue to occupy a single transponder on both Satcom C-3 and
C-4. And following the transition, the HITS platform will continue to transmit eight
channels on one of the G-7 HITS transponders.
Viewer's Choice will also make some other technical
and programming-format changes. The VC6 channel will be rescheduled to a movie-of-the-week
(MOW) format from movie-of-the-day (MOD), and the VC2 and Hot Choice channels will trade
places on the transponder lineup.
The resulting NVOD package, whether used by affiliates in
full or in part, will be flexible enough to meet operators' analog and digital needs,
Viewer's Choice said.
Once the transition is complete, the three transponders on
Telstar 5 will be used for the transmission of two variety channels and 20 MOW channels,
as well as two barkers. The single transponder on C-4 will be used for the transmission of
Hot Choice, five additional MOWs and a barker channel. And the single transponder on C-3
will transmit two variety channels and three MODs.