GCI Taps Evolution Digital for Shift to IP-VOD Platform

Alaska’s GCI will add an IP-based video-on-demand platform to its pay TV mix after striking a deal to deploy Evolution Digital’s managed eVUE-TV IPTV platform in “select service regions," including all markets serviced by GCI where VOD is available.

It's expected that GCI's eVUE-TV deployment will begin in the September/November 2017. 

That agreement follows one announced last November in which GCI agreed to deploy the eBOX, a hybrid IP/QAM device from Evolution that weaves in linear TV, OTT apps, pay-per-view service and VOD via a TiVo-powered interface. Evolution Digital noted that the latest deal with GCI currently encompasses eVUE-TV IP VOD, but added that eVUE-TV also supports linear IPTV services and that it hopes to announce additional affiliates soon.

RELATED: GCI Rolls Out Evolution Digital’s ‘eBOX’

The latest agreement comes as GCI is in the process of being acquired by John Malone’s Liberty Interactive for $1.1 billion.

RELATED: Liberty Interactive to Buy Alaskan Cable Operator GCI in $1.1B Deal

Evolution Digital said GCI is the fifteenth operator to sign a deal for eVUE-TV, a group that includes several Nation Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) such as Docomo Pacific, Antietam Communications, Frankfort Plant Board, Orbitel Communications, Easton Utilities, MTC Cable and Wyandotte Cable TV.  Others include WideOpenWest, Blue Stream, Vast Broadband, Click!, Westman Communications, Fidelity and Hiawatha/HTC.

RELATED: Evolution Digital Nets Video Deals With Seven NCTC Members

eVUE-TV, introduced by Evolution in February 2016, utilizes Conax digital rights management security/content protection system for connected devices and factors in technology that Evolution acquired in 2015 from i-Velozity, a startup that had developed a low-cost IP-VoD platform.

“We are excited to announce that GCI customers will have access to the best Video on Demand content through an advanced IP video platform with a pricing model that makes sense to the operator,” Marc Cohen, executive vice president at Evolution Digital, said in a statement. “Transitioning to an IP video platform sets the stage for GCI’s continued growth by capturing new revenue and expanding to new markets.”

RELATED: GCI Expands Its TiVo Reach

“We look forward to working with Evolution Digital, leveraging their expertise and ability to provide a low-cost solution that will deliver GCI’s next generation IP Video on Demand service,” added Eric Powelson, senior product manager of video at GCI. “Aggregating the most popular content available in the market today, including live Pay-Per-View, via a seamless and easy-to-use interface, eVUE-TV will represent the first step in our transition to IP video. Additionally, the solution plays a key role in our efforts to reduce costs by integrating Evolution Digital’s eBOX.” 

GCI ended Q1 2017 with 106,100 basic video subscribers.