UMG goes for on-demand vid deal

Business model to be determined from trial results

NEW YORK — In search of new revenue streams, Universal Music Group has pacted with tech provider Gotuit Media to lend its vast music library to a musicvideo-on-demand service for digital cable.

Gotuit Media Corp., which has designed a proprietary MusicOnDemand service for digital cable, inked a trial agreement with UMG giving it access to “several hundred” of the music major’s videos as part of a trial of the platform currently under way on a major U.S. cable operator. Company expects to announce further trials of the service soon.

Depending on the cabler’s storage capacity, platform will allow viewers to call up current and classic videos from a range of genre-based blocks including rock, pop, hip-hop and country, in addition to blocks containing artist spotlights and specific label-branded channels such as Def Jam Records and Shady Records.

Subscribers will be able watch the blocks in their entirety or create their own personalized music-viewing experience. Other interactive features include artist interviews, concert footage, complete discography, reviews and concert tour information.

Service initially is being offered free to MSOs and subscribers, with the ultimate business model to be determined based on the results from the trials.

“We are optimistic about the potential of this new video-on-demand offering that will allow music fans even more opportunities to enjoy their favorite recording artists,” said Scott Hochgesang, VP business development at Universal Music Group eLabs.

Seeking new revenues

“The goal of trial and getting into this business is to find new revenue sources for UMG,” said Hochgesang, who indicated fees could be ad- and/or subscription-based.

“VOD is now at a point that it’s got sufficient scale, with around 10 million accessible homes, to roll out a service broadly,” he added.

Backers don’t see the service directly competing with traditional video channels like MTV or Web-based musicvid services that are used more as promotional devices.

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