RealTime IT News

Time Warner, NBC Renew VoD Pact

Time Warner Cable and NBC Universal Cable (NBCU) announced they renewed a deal today allowing Time Warner customers to restart television shows already in progress.

The service, which allows programs chosen from among NBC, USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo and SCI-FI to "start over," will be launched later this year.

The deal signals Time Warner's growing commitment to provide its affiliates with new services, and also includes the rights to on-demand content from NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC.

As part of the agreement, NBCU will develop interactive opportunities for Time Warner Cable, as well as participate in several new technology trials, both companies said.

"Customers will continue to have access to one of the top-rated cable networks on television, USA, while also having the opportunity to utilize new technologies like Start Over," David Zaslav, president of NBCU Cable, said in a statement.

"We expect Start Over will help deliver more engaged viewers to our advertisers. From HD to video on demand (VoD) and interactive TV our customers will get to watch the valuable programming we have to offer from news to entertainment in new and exciting ways."

A pair of recent studies shows VoD is growing in popularity and is expected to make greater inroads in programming over the next several years.

ABI Research reports VoD will start to make an impact on television programming within five years, a move that will trump traditional TV scheduling, as people choose their own times to watch a movie.

The continued growth of VoD is currently dependent on satellite and cable operators, as well as the rollout of IPTV, a broadband service available to telephone carriers such as Verizon and SBC .

The ABI report says IPTV will be a key factor in VoD's growth, while the Baby Bells will need to upgrade older DSL and fiber-to-the-home networks.

"This agreement provides us with extremely desirable programming for Start Over, our VoD offerings and interactive television making Time Warner Cable customers and NBCU viewers the big winners," Time Warner Cable Executive Vice President Fred Dressler, said in a statement.

"Once again NBC and NBCU have proven to be forward-thinking business partners -- partners that share our desire to deliver consumers highly rated content using today's advanced services."