LodgeNet Interactive Corp., the nation’s largest provider of in-room entertainment channels at hotels and hospitals, has tapped longtime Fox executive and Gemstar-TV Guide topper Richard Battista as president and CEO.

Battista will be based in Los Angeles as he looks to grow the company’s VOD biz, which underwent an overhaul last year. LodgeNet is based in Sioux Falls, SD.

Long before studios launched their premium VOD window, Hollywood already was offering films shortly after their theatrical bows in hotel rooms through LodgeNet’s system, with some pics available two months before their bow on DVD and 90 days before Netflix. Many earned more than $1 million during their runs on the service.

Films typically play for six months on LodgeNet’s VOD service, available in more than 1.6 million rooms in more than 9,000 hotels throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. System is accessible to more than 500 million travelers annually.

Battista previously served as executive VP of News Corp. and president of Fox National Cable Networks during his nearly 20-year tenure at the companies.

Shortly after ankling News Corp. in 2010, Battista formed Pontiac Digital Media that invested in media properties with a focus on the digital and content arenas.

Battista’s “operational expertise as well as his background in both traditional and digital media business” is expected to help LodgeNet’s growth, according to board member Doug Bradbury.