TVN Helps Startup Providers Proffer VOD

To boost the burgeoning video-on-demand business, TVN Entertainment Corp. is offering fledgling content providers a suite of services to help them get up and running.

Furnishing affiliate sales, distribution and technological support, TVN wants to attract startup VOD programmers that proffer compelling and unique product — and that may not have the resources to launch on their own, said TVN senior vice president of sales and business development Jim Riley.

Currently on board with TVN for VOD distribution are such diverse services as Japanese animation-based Anime Network, movie-preview service Hollywood TV, teen-targeted Varsity TV and pre-teen entertainment network Kids Unlimited.

Often for a prenegotiated fee or a split of VOD revenue, TVN will afford content providers with a distribution platform, technological support and such back-end services as affiliate sales.

“In some cases, there may be a fee involved; [in] other cases there may be a split of revenue or a combination; and still others it could be some form of equity,” said Riley. TVN’s services have made a difference with respect to the ambitions of the networks’ business plans.

TVN partnered with independent company Studio 4 to create Kids Unlimited, which features programming targeted to infants and young children from producers like PBS Kids and Scholastic Entertainment. TVN uplinks the service’s programming onto its server for distribution to operators, according to Studio 4 founder and CEO Ed Stansfield.

TVN serves as a consultant and a distributor to Totally Hollywood TV and has helped the network — which showcases movie previews and behind-the-scenes looks at premieres and production — to get its product in front of 1 million Cablevision Systems Corp. and Insight Communications Co. subscribers.

“TVN was invaluable in terms of providing structure in terms of guiding us and learning the ins and outs of detail required to do this the right way,” said Eric Illowsky, president of development at Hollywood Media Corp., which owns the VOD service.

While the network does most of the negotiations with operators, Illowsky said TVN serves as an “operation liaison” to make sure all the bases are covered.

“They become a focal point for the content provider and the MSO to converge so that things don’t fall through the cracks,” said Illowsky, who would not disclose the fees its pays to TVN.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.