& cplSiteName &

Starz Shops IPTV Service

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
4/10/2008
50%
50%

Now that operators are starting to roll out new, faster modem tiers, including some using Docsis-based channel bonding techniques, programmers in the subscription/premium category are setting their sights on Internet-based services tailored for their cable and telco distributors.

Among that group, Starz Entertainment LLC has already created a subset of its direct-to-consumer Vongo service for just that purpose. Dubbed Starz Play, the service would give broadband customers access to about 2,500 movie and video selections and a live stream of the flagship Starz network. Starz Play does not offer the 200 pay-per-view titles delivered through Vongo, which was introduced at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show.



Starz won't be the only premium programmer pitching such a product to affiliates. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is already offering the HBO On Broadband service in Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Showtime Networks, meanwhile, has hinted that it might offer a broadband service later this year.

The Real deal
Fashioning a subset of Vongo for cable distrubutors was in the plans all along, according to Robert Greene, the executive vice president of advanced services for Starz.

"We've been pitching a wholesale product since day one," Greene says. In fact, Starz was pitching the concept in the pre-Vongo days, when it was hawking an online subscription movie service in partnership with RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) that launched in June 2004.

"But the implementation was a mess," Greene recalls of the service, known then as Starz Ticket on Real Movies [Ed. note: That name didn't help, either.].

"We are staying true to our original vision and original business model that Vongo was created upon... that it would go to multiple constituencies to drive this business," Greene says.

Vongo launched in January 2006 under a consumer retail model "because we could," he adds. "We didn't have to wait for anybody's permission or timetable. Although I wouldn't have said it at the time, it was really there to start a conversation."

That conversation got underway with Starz's big distributors, which weren't ready to offer broadband-based premium video services of their own.

"We've always believed that our business would come down to working with our big distributors rather than trying to go out and get onesies/twosies, in terms of customers," Greene says.

Starz has not disclosed the number of Vongo subscribers. As of Dec. 31, Starz had 16.3 million subscribers through its cable, telco, and satellite TV distributors.

New model
With Starz Play, it's the cable operator that owns the customer relationship -- as opposed to the Vongo model, where the programmer is the one selling to the customer. Moreover, Starz Play puts the operator in charge of billing, service provisioning, and the distribution and hosting of the content.

Starz Play is in play, finalizing contracts with several large operators that Greene won't name. Nor will he discuss what his company will charge its cable affiliates for access to the service.

"We will have launches this year to a large number of customers," he says, helpfully.

Greene hopes Starz Play will create new, incremental revenue for its affiliates, which could market the service to customers who already subscribe to Starz, or to people who don't take the premium video service but do use the operator's high-speed Internet service.

He also believes operators will have to add value if they expect customers to pay more for higher-speed tiers. Although it's just the first commercial launch, Comcast's Docsis 3.0-based 50-Mbit/s (downstream) tier is selling for the princely sum of $150 per month. (See Controlling Doc$is 3.0 .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials
Iain Morris, News Editor, 2/12/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Andreessen Facepalms on Facebook Free Basics
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/10/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.