Light Reading

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
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment