Intel Media Stokes Subscription-TV Trials

Intel Media is testing its over-the-top subscriptionvideo service with more than 1,000 employees in Oregon as it pushes toward a commercial launch expected later this year.

Company spokesman Jon Carvill confirmed the internal test in Oregon, a figure first reported last week by The Oregonian. Intel Media has not revealed the exact number of people involved in the trials, but Carvill said the company is also conducting similar tests with employees in parts of Northern California and Arizona. The trial in Oregon is the largest of the three.

The company has kept many details of the service and the device that will support it under wraps, and it isn’t commenting on details that have leaked recently. Citing trademark applications, website GigaOM reported in July that the service will be called OnCue.

Intel Media also hasn’t made any announcements on any programming deals for a subscription service that will feature an Intel-made device and user interface, and will target a saturated pay TV market with what it has referred to as “smarter bundles.”

The new retransmission deal between CBS and Time Warner Cable could bode well for Intel Media’s aims. The deal will apparently ensure that CBS retains enough digital rights to pursue deals with new forms of video competition. Google, Sony and other media companies with deep pockets are rumored to be developing OTT video services that will compete with traditional pay TV providers.

“It was important we take a stand,” CBS CEO Les Moonves said last Wednesday (Sept. 4) on CNBC. “This is a stand about content and how content is sold and how it goes to our consumers and how it will be sold in the future, when digital viewing could eclipse more traditional forms of television. One of the things we won, one of the things we were fighting for, is the ability to slice and dice our content all over the place. To put it on Netflix, to put it on Amazon, to let people binge-view. That’s our inherent right to do that.”

Although Intel Media has discussed a general 2013 launch timeframe, it hasn’t specified a date. And it apparently won’t push forward until it’s satisfied enough deals are in place to sate the target audience.

“We will not bring a product to market without a compelling content proposition,” Courtnee Westendorf, general manager and head of marketing for Intel Media, told The Oregonian.

A few more details about Intel Media’s plans could be revealed this week. Erik Huggers, the head of Intel Media, is a scheduled keynoter this Tuesday (Sept. 10) at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable Next TV Summit in San Francisco.