Interactive TV News Round-Up (VI): Netflix, AMC, On Demand Group, Cablevision Mexico, HIT
--Netflix Kills Qwikster
--Netflix in Multi-Year Licensing Deal with AMC Networks
--SeaChange's On Demand Group in VOD Deal with Mexico's Cablevision
--On Demand Group in Children's VOD Deal with HIT Entertainment
Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on TVOT NYC Intensive 2011, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.
- As has been widely reported, Netflix has abandoned its plan to spin off its DVD business into a separate operation and Web site called Qwikster. "It is clear that for many of our members two Web sites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVD's," CEO Reed Hastings wrote on the company's blog. "This means no change: one Web site, one account, one password...in other words, no Qwikster. While the [company's controversial] July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes."
- In other Netflix news: The company has signed a multi-year licensing deal with AMC Networks which, among other things, will make prior seasons of the latter's original series, "The Walking Dead," available exclusively to Netflix customers in the US and Canada. "Season 1 of 'The Walking Dead' will be available today," the company states in its press materials. "Additional seasons of 'The Walking Dead,' as well as certain future AMC and Sundance Channel programming, will be streaming instantly to Netflix members just prior to the premiere of subsequent seasons. Netflix has also licensed non-exclusive rights in the US to select scripted and unscripted shows, which will also be made available just before the following season debut. This includes programming from across the AMC Networks portfolio of AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, and WE tv. Specific series include IFC's 'Portlandia' and 'The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret'; WE tv's 'Braxton Family Values,' 'My Fair Wedding,' and 'Bridezillas'; and Sundance Channel's 'All On The Line with Joe Zee' and 'Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys.'"
- SeaChange International's VOD content-aggregator subsidiary, On Demand Group (ODG), has announced a deal to manage Cablevision Mexico's VOD service. "The deal marks On Demand Group's first fully operational move into Latin America and will include Cablevision's transaction video-on-demand (TVOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services," the company states in its press materials. "The Cablevision service launch will mark the extension of On Demand Group's reach to 19 platforms in 13 countries handling one billion VOD transactions per year in 10 languages. Cablevision is the largest digital multiple system operator in Mexico and is part of Grupo Televisa, the largest Spanish-spoken communication enterprise in Mexico. Cablevision successfully launched VOD and catch-up services in 2010, and is the leader in triple-play entertainment and communication services and in providing the latest convergent technology solutions." Said ODG CEO, Tony Kelly: "Our deal with Cablevision is an exciting stage in On Demand Group's growth. We have built a specialist expertise in the development and management of VOD services with leading cable, telco and mobile operators in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and having undertaken various VOD consultancy projects with major operators in Brazil, we now look forward to working with Cablevision in Mexico as our first major operational deal in Latin America. This deal further demonstrates our premium content aggregation strategy and our ability to provide compelling TV-on-demand services, programming and marketing expertise to maximize VOD buy rates for multiple clients in multiple territories."
In related news: ODG has struck a deal with children's programmer, HIT Entertainment, that will see the latter providing a library of programming to Cablevision Mexico's new SVOD service. "Under the terms of the deal, Cablevision customers will be able to watch their favorite children's TV programs, such as 'Pingu,' 'Mumuhug,' 'Percy the Park Keeper,' 'Untalkative Bunny,' 'Rubbadubbers,' 'Kipper,' 'Animal Ark,' 'Shelldon' and 'Anthony Ant,' whenever they want with full control to pause, rewind, fast-forward and watch again," ODG states in its press materials. "The catalog of programs will be available in Spanish."