Anime TV goes legit

Net makes shift from VOD to cable

NEW YORK — The Anime Network has achieved a cable TV first, transforming itself from a video-on-demand programming service to a full-fledged 24/7 cable net.

Starting this week, Anime TV will transmit its signal to cable systems in Columbus, Ohio, owned by Insight Communications, a top-10 cable operator. More Insight systems will start rolling it out over the next year.

Terry Denson, VP of programming for Insight, said he has no problem being the first cable operator to set aside a digital channel for Anime TV because “it’s a niche network loaded with programming that young males are passionate about and will go out of their way to pay for.”

Deal is unusual in that Insight did not experiment with Anime as a video-on-demand service beforehand. But Denson said he has kept an eye on the network’s VOD performance on Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems.

“Anime TV is wildly popular on Comcast,” said Denson, adding that it regularly scores among the top-10 networks in VOD, competing against pay channels like HBO and Showtime.

Comcast offers about 20 hours of Anime programming free to digital subscribers, with a few fresh hours added as replacement programming each month. Cablevision offers more hours because it charges $6.95 a month for Anime’s VOD programming.

Rasenberger Media topper Cathy Rasenberger, who’s doing the cable-operator deals for Anime, said Cablevision’s buy rates are surprisingly high despite the stiff monthly tariff. Rasenberger said she’s negotiating with both Comcast and Cablevision to take the 24/7 Anime.

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