NEW YORK — The massive rollout of video-on-demand has begun in New York, powered by Time Warner Cable’s announcement that within the next two weeks, almost half of its digital customers will gain access to the service.
Two forms of VOD will become available to TW’s digital subscribers: new-release movies in the PPV window, and on-demand repackaging of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and the Movie Channel.
Each of the new VOD movies will cost $3.95, which is also their retail price in PPV. But VOD will give the subscriber full VCR capability with the movie, including pause, fast forward and rewind. No new equipment is required beyond the existing digital box. Subscribers can watch any of the 100 or so movies each month as many times as they want during a 24-hour period.
“This is significant news because by the end of the year, 500,000 cable subscribers in New York will have another product” to go with their digital boxes, said Barbara Kelly, senior VP and general manager of Time Warner Cable of New York City.
With more than 1 million subscribers, TW Cable of NYC is the largest cable system in the U.S.
TW Cable will sell the four repackaged pay-TV networks on what it calls subscription video on demand for a total monthly cost to subscribers of $6.95. For now, the subscriber won’t be able to buy just one or two of them at a reduced rate.
But for the $6.95, subscribers will be able to watch, at their convenience, all of the movies in each network’s current window, as well as episodes of series such as “The Sopranos,” “Sex & the City,” “Queer as Folk” and “Soul Food.”
TW Cable said that by the end of the year, the VOD window will feature such theatricals as “Monsters, Inc., “Mr. Deeds,” “The Panic Room,” “Scooby Doo,” “Ice Age” and “Insomnia.” Some selected older titles will also join the VOD window and will cost $1.95 apiece.
Sometime next year, Kelly said, TW Cable plans to offer subscription VOD for a batch of basic-cable networks such as Discovery, A&E, CNN, Cartoon Network and Food Network, among others. These would come with no extra charge to the cable system’s digital subscribers.
In Demand, the largest distributor of VOD movies in the U.S., will provide the content to TW Cable of NYC. Time Warner Entertainment is one of the owners of In Demand.