Techno-mad Aussies to get VOD rollout

Total Television to launch 1st service in June

SYDNEY — It remains to be seen whether Australians will embrace video-on-demand as fast as they have adopted other new technologies — but those behind the pioneer service, as well as some U.S. majors, believe the time is right.

Total Television Australia, a co-venture between Britain’s Yes Television and Melbourne-based CableandTelecoms, launches the country’s first VOD service, Easy Television, in Canberra in June.

Households connected to TransACT Communications’ broadband network will be offered movies- and music-on-demand, home shopping, Internet and email on TV and conventional feevee channels. The aim is to connect 100,000 homes by the end of next year.

Easy Television has signed programming deals with BBC Worldwide, sports giant TransWorld Intl. and asSeenonScreen.com, which allows subscribers to purchase items seen on film and TV.

Another capability will be Television on Demand, enabling viewers to stop, pause, rewind and fast-forward at will.

One Sydney-based rep of a U.S. major has had preliminary talks with TTA and seems eager to make his studios’ movies available for pay per view.

“We have yet to see what they are offering, but it’s a good plan to start in Canberra, which is a high video-renting city,” says the exec, who asked not to be identified. “It will be exciting, the future of television.”

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