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TVN Reveals Caught On Demand

Continuing its drive for more content partners and distribution affiliates, Burbank, Calif.-based TVN Entertainment announced its seventh video-on-demand channel Tuesday, Caught On Demand.

Available to roughly 2.5 million subscribers via 15 affiliates, Caught On Demand offers actual footage of police chases, burglaries and other extreme behavior recorded by surveillance cameras, police cruisers and personal cell phones. The five- to seven-minute hosted programs include themed content such as Unbelievable Chases, Amazing Crashes and Dumbest Criminals.

The announcement comes on the heels of the company’s licensing deal last month with Disney’s Buena Vista Video-On-Demand, as well as a more recent deal with Cox Communications for a VOD barker channel to be deployed across all of the MSO’s cable systems.

“Video-on-demand is now available in nearly 30 million TV households in the United States and Canada and signifies an enormous opportunity for programmers to build networks for the future,” TVN senior vice president of strategy and business development Matt Cohen said. “Caught On Demand represents the latest example of TVN’s strategy to provide compelling content to its broad base of affiliates by creating and launching new VOD networks in underserved categories.”

TVN’s other on-demand channels include The Karaoke Channel, Kids Unlimited, music-video channel Music Unlimited, Spanish-language channel Telecentral, independent movie channel Urban Xtra and art and music ambience channel Ambient.TV.

All told, the company delivers roughly 3,000 hours of on-demand content monthly -- much of which is refreshed -- to 95 affiliates, including cable operators, telcos and satellite operators. For 85 of those affiliates, TVN is the exclusive provider.

“Our business has doubled in the past year,” said TVN chief operating officer Douglas Sylvester. “And from 2006 to 2007, it’s expected to double again.”

He linked TVN’s success to the fact that unlike larger, more mature companies, many content providers had not developed the in-house resources to bring their content to on-demand television. Tasks such as encoding, managing metadata to work for different content and distribution have therefore been outsourced to TVN, which then works with affiliates to develop the right “hierarchy of menus” -- a mix of subscription, transactional and free offerings.

Sylvester estimated that roughly 10% of TVN’s content is viewed on a transactional basis, which translates largely to live events, replays of live events and adult content. The rest falls to ad-supported and subscription-viewed offerings.

As for the future, TVN executives said the trends are for shorter form and quicker turnaround, adding that the sooner they could get reliable usage data back, the sooner they could bridge the gap between operators and programmers.