Charter to roll out VOD for L.A. subs

Company deals with Diva

Charter Communications on Thursday teamed with Diva Systems to offer video-on-demand service to digital cable subscribers in Los Angeles.

The service, which is scheduled to roll out in the next 90 days, will be accessible to consumers via a set-top box. There will be no additional fees beyond what is normally charged to digital cable subscribers, although each video requested will cost between 99¢ and $3.95.

“This deployment is the largest commitment to video on demand and represents another major step in Charter’s Wired World vision to bring the power of computing and the convenience of interactivity to the television,” said Jerald Kent, prexy and CEO of Charter Communications.

Quick deployment

Charter has 1.2 million subscribers in the Los Angeles area. Execs with the company declined to reveal how many of those customers currently have digital cable, although they said deployment of digital cable in the city is proceeding quickly. Communities that will be able to receive the service include Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Glendale, Burbank and Long Beach.

Charter is the nation’s fourth-largest cable operator. Diva, based in Redwood City, also has video-on-demand agreements with Insight Communications and MediaOne and content pacts with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Fox and Disney.

“One of the things Charter wants to do is make video-on-demand a business and not just an interesting technology,” said Tom Jokerst, senior veep of advanced technology development at Charter. “Diva had a good architecture that was ready to go. This was a very expedient way to get to market quick.”

Charter and Diva previously worked together on a video-on-demand trial to 500 customers in a suburb of Atlanta. “These deployments significantly build upon an already successful relationship with Charter and underscore our ability to help Charter provide its customers with the benefits of tomorrow’s technology now,” said David Zucker, prexy and CEO of Diva.

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