June 9, 2010
Less than three weeks after launching its TV Everywhere product, about 100,000 Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) subscribers have registered for access to site, executives at the top Canadian MSO told Light Reading Cable.
Rogers, which has about 2.3 million cable subscribers, is on track to hit its forecast of registering "a few hundred thousand" subscribers to Rogers On Demand Online by the end of the year, said David Purdy, VP of television and video product management.
The number of subscribers that have registered for online access to dozens of shows from networks carried in their cable subscriptions are noteworthy. It's the first glimpse pay-TV providers may see of the amount of demand for TV Everywhere services. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which flipped the switch on its Fancast Xfinity TV service in December, still hasn't disclosed the number of subscribers that have signed up for access to its TV Everywhere product. (See Comcast to Expand 'Xfinity' to DSL Subs and Comcast CEO Dismisses Cord-Cutting Trend .)
Purdy said Rogers is working with Comcast-owned thePlatform Inc. -- which operates Fancast Xfinity TV-- to power its TV Everywhere site. It also signed New York-based Empathy Lab to design the "overall look and feel" for the site, he added.
Rogers launched the beta version of its Rogers On Demand Online service in November, shortly before Comcast flipped the switch on the beta version of Fancast Xfnity T. Rogers offers about 1,500 hours of programming from 20 content suppliers on the site, including Canwest and Corus Entertainment. (See Comcast's 'Xfinity' Goes Live .)
One of the biggest topics of debate between US MSOs and cable networks when it comes to developing TV Everywhere strategies is whether content from dozens of networks should be aggregated on a portal like Fancast Xfninity TV, or distributed through individual sites operated by cable and broadcast networks. New premium network EPIX has pursued the latter approach, and the Viacom-backed company has distribution deals with Charter Communications Inc. , Cox Communications Inc. , and Mediacom Communications Corp. that allow subscribers from those MSOs to access full-length movies on EpixHD.com. (See EPIX Gains Traction With 'TV Everywhere' Model.)
Purdy said many of the discussions Rogers has had with programmers are focused on whether the companies should authenticate subscribers through RogersOnDemand.com or through sites owned by individual networks. He said Rogers is open to a model in which its subscribers could be authenticated on both its site and network sites, but that none of the MSO's networks have begun authenticating subscribers through their own sites.
"I personally believe customers want to go to a centrally aggregated site. They are used to having all of their content in one place. But I could be wrong, and if I am, we could always tweak our strategy," Purdy said.
— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable
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