Verizon FiOS TV Updates its Twitter Widget, Launches Epix Premium Programming Service
In a posting on a Verizon blog, Wednesday, the company's SVP of media relations, Eric Rabe, announced an update to its FiOS TV service's Twitter Widget which is scheduled to be rolled out today (Thursday): "With our Twitter Widget," he wrote, "we heard from many of you who wanted an easier way to switch back and forth from tweeting to full-screen TV viewing mode. You got it. By tomorrow, customers will be able to simply press the one-click FiOS TV button on the remote control to navigate back and forth between the Widget and TV mode [i.e. in a manner similar to that allowed by the company's Pro Football Widget]. And now Tweets will auto-refresh every 30 seconds."
This is the second time Verizon has updated the Twitter Widget: at launch, the widget allowed viewers to follow tweets related specifically to the program they were watching; select from a list of top Twitter topics, so that they could view tweets on those topics; search for specific tweets; and create and save a favorite topics list. However, it did not allow them to send tweets about the show they were watching directly from the TV. That feature was added via an upgrade in August (see the article published on itvt.com, August 3rd), and a second upgrade later that month allowed viewers to follow their friends' tweets (see the article published on itvt.com, August 19th).
In other Verizon news: The company announced Wednesday that it will roll out Epix--a multiplatform subscription-based premium programming service which is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures arm, MGM and Lionsgate and which will have exclusive access to Paramount, Paramount Vantage MTV and Nickelodeon movies released theatrically on or after January 1st, 2008, and to MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate titles released theatrically on or after January 1st, 2009 (note: the venture, which says that it will offer "interactivity that will significantly enhance the entertainment experience," claims that it will have access to over 15,000 movies, as well as new, original TV series and live event programming)--on FiOS TV and online this Friday (October 30th). To date, Verizon is the only operator to have signed up for the service. The service will be available in standard definition on channel 395, in high definition on channel 895, and on the FiOS TV VOD platform. In addition, Verizon says, Epix subscribers will be able to access over 150 movies each month at epixhd.com (note: the company says that, in order to access the content, customers must subscribe both to FiOS TV and FiOS Internet).
Verizon FiOS TV has been offering a free preview of Epix on its VOD platform since August, and says that it will offer a free preview of the service's standard- and high-definition linear channels from October 30th through November 1st. After that, the service will be priced at $9.99 per month. Verizon customers can use FiOS TV's interactive TV on-screen ordering capability to subscribe to the service.