Light Reading
The direct-to-consumer Vongo service is getting an MSO/telco spin under the name Starz Play

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
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration

11|21|14   |   04:29   |   (7) comments


At the Alcatel-Lucent Technology Symposium, Heavy Reading senior analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how SDN has reshaped the discussion around packet and optical integration.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Highlights at BBWF 2014

11|20|14   |   3:40   |   (1) comment


Broadband World Forum is one of the world's largest telecoms, media and technology events with over 7,800 senior executives from across the globe converging on Amsterdam every year to identify the Next Big Thing. BBWF is an exciting place to meet the entire industry under one roof and identify the latest in network innovation, service optimization and customer ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How Will BCMS Stimulate Margin for Broadband Operators?

11|19|14   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


In BBWF 2014, Liu Shuqing emphasizes the value of FMC 2.0 based full service experience by throwing light on the BCMS solution. The underlying principle of this innovative technique is to create network robustness and driving network from connection oriented to ACE – BAND oriented infrastructure, in which applications, cloud, and user experiences will be an asset ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
SingleFAN3.0: Better Connected Experience

11|19|14   |   3:06   |   (1) comment


At the BBWF 2014, David Hu, the VP of Huawei Access Network Product Line, talked about the future of access networks – SingleFAN3.0: faster broadband, wider coverage, and smarter connection.
LRTV Interviews
Basil Alwan Interview: The Road to Cloud

11|19|14   |   09:09   |   (0) comments


Alcatel-Lucent's head of IP and Transport talks about the migration towards a web-like networking environment, the impact of the cloud, SDN and NFV, and the yet-to-be-announced FP4 chip.
LRTV Documentaries
FairPoint Makes a Fair Point About Analytics

11|19|14   |   1:56   |   (1) comment


The US-based communication service provider gets to grips with advanced analytics, tackling data and breaking down the silos within its own business.
LRTV Documentaries
Analytics Lets C Spire Get to Know Subs

11|19|14   |   3:01   |   (2) comments


It's all about the data for US operator C Spire as it uses analytics to personalize its customer service down to individual subscribers.
LRTV Interviews
Nuage Branches Out With SDN: CEO Interview

11|17|14   |   9:32   |   (0) comments


Sunil Khandekar, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent's SDN-focused unit Nuage Networks, talks about the opportunities and challenges of breaking out of the data center into wide-area networks.
Light Reedy
Telecom Analytics Grows Up

11|14|14   |   1:15   |   (4) comments


The big data analytics debate has moved on from a year ago, with some experts suggesting it's no longer a technology challenge.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Compass

11|14|14   |   3:17   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Shuo Yang, Huawei Principal Cloud Infrastructure Architect introduced Huawei Compass, the software tool for solving customers' problems on the journey of OpenStack Cloud.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Cloud Strategy in European Region

11|14|14   |   2:56   |   (1) comment


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dr. Gotz, CTO of Huawei IT in European Region introduced Huawei's cloud strategy in European region.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Contribution on OpenStack

11|14|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


At OpenStack Summit 2014, Dennis Gu, Huawei Chief Architect of Cloud Computing introduced the relationship between OpenStack and cloud computing, and Huawei's contribution on OpenStack.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 12, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
Google, AT&T, BT Unite on Network Data Models
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 11/20/2014
The New Wave of IP + Optical Integration
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 11/21/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed