iN Demand to launch linear HD cable channels

In September, cable VOD programming provider iN DEMAND will rollout a new HD television (HDTV) channel called INHD, that features a variety of movies, sports and general entertainment. It will be available exclusively to digital cable subscribers.

Steve Brenner, president and chief executive officer at iN DEMAND said that while the company’s core business will continue to be standard-definition digital events and programs via current PPV and VOD services, the model for the new HD service will be 24/7, linear-programming, not PPV or VOD. This means a consumer must watch the program at pre-determined times and cannot start and stop a movie at will, as they can with iN DEMAND’s VOD service.

In the fall, iN DEMAND’s INHD will offer 12 hours of daily HD programming in the 1080i HD format with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio (when available), which will be recycled twice a day, the company said. Following the launch of INHD in September, iN DEMAND said it might launch additional HD networks with more of a focus on movies and sports.

“Adding new linear channels to our product line in some respects marks a major transformation of iN DEMAND from a business model focused narrowly on transactional content to one more broadly focused on both transactional and linear programming,” said Brenner. “With the aggressive rollout of VOD still underway, both models will continue to play significantly important roles and remain vitally important to the overall product mix and success of our affiliates.”

iN DEMAND also became the country’s first VOD provider to adopt the HD format, beginning with My Big Fat Greek Wedding in April, and Friday After Next, About Schmidt, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Ring, and Catch Me If You Can scheduled for upcoming months.

The launch of INHD is the latest milestone for iN DEMAND whose origin began more than a decade ago as “Viewer’s Choice.” The company was also the first to introduce the 35-channel PPV multiplex with 30-minute start times; sports packages from the NBA, NHL, MLB and NASCAR; VOD license agreements from Hollywood’s biggest studios and free-on-demand content.

iN DEMAND currently delivers new releases and library titles for cable operators’ various VOD platforms from Hollywood studios, including Artisan Entertainment, DreamWorks SKG, MGM, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. The result of these agreements give the company access to over 85 percent of the new films released by Hollywood, it said.

iN DEMAND’s current 60-channel digital lineup also offers MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, WNBA Season Pass, NHL Center Ice, ESPN Full Court and NASCAR IN CAR on iN DEMAND. The company’s shareholders are Comcast iN DEMAND Holdings, Cox Communications and Time Warner Entertainment - Advance/Newhouse Partnership.

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