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ntl launches VOD TV Service [Update 1]

# 20 January 2005, 13:25 by Cable Forum

We reported last week that ntl was to release their long and anticipated Video-On-Demand service. The new service, dubbed ntl On Demand, is to be rolled out regionally to ntl DTV customers throughout the UK, starting today with digital TV customers in Glasgow.

The ntl press release also states this is the first mass market launch of Video on Demand (VOD) outside the USA.

ntl On Demand is said to offer DVD-style features, which include freeze frame, fast-forward and rewind. Programmes will also be available for 24 hours after purchasing. Apparently, there will be an increasing amount of free content available to view at any time.

To better understand what this new service entails, the press release explains a little more about this new service:

ntl On Demand is a significant enhancement to the existing ntl digital TV service, offering viewers choice over and above scheduled programming. The service is exclusive to ntl and will provide access to hundreds of hours of additional programming, including advertiser-free children’s programmes, a ‘Pick of the Week’ option showing a selection of top shows from the previous seven days, a music video jukebox service, and adult content. The movie service, provided by FilmFlex, a joint venture company between Sony, Disney and the On Demand Group, will offer hundreds of films, including the latest blockbusters and classics.

Companies who have already agreed to provide content include the BBC, Nickelodeon, Jetix, Warner Music, Entertainment Rights, VPL, The Walt Disney Company, Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax Film Corporation, Buena Vista International, Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Classics, Columbia Pictures, TriStar, Pathé, Icon Films and Playboy TV. Additional partners will join the service as it develops.

Simon Duffy, Chief Executive Officer of ntl, said: “We invested over £9bn in our high speed fibre optic network so that we could provide leading access services to our customers. VOD is the latest example of this. ntl On Demand gives our customers a wide choice of quality viewing at a time that suits them. VOD is TV the way it’s meant to be.”

Of course even though the service is being launched today, Simon Duffy told Cable Forum last week that the full roll out would take a couple of years to complete.

Update 1: Alison Kirkwood, ntl’s PR director, has now confirmed for us the details around the exclusivity of this deal to ntl. “Just to confirm, ntl On Demand is exclusive. We do share FilmFlex with Telewest, just as we share Front Row, but the deals with Nickelodeon, BBC Worldwide, Jetix, Entertainment Rights, Warner Music, Planet Rock, VPL and Playboy are ntl deals providing content for ntl customers,” she wrote in an email to Cable Forum.

“This covers kids, general entertainment, music and adult. The ntl On Demand service will continue to grow and evolve, offering more content, including regionalised content over time.”

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