TVN Supports VOD Start-Up Services

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

Providing affiliate sales, distribution and technological support, TVN wants to attract VOD start-up services proffering compelling and unique product that may not otherwise have the resources to launch on their own, according to 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 Totally Hollywood TV, teen-targeted Varsity TV and pre-teen entertainment network Kids Unlimited.

Often for a pre-negotiated fee or a split of VOD revenue, TVN will afford content providers with a distribution platform, technological support -- including encoding and uplinking -- and back-end services such 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 in still others, it could be some form of equity," Riley said. "We’re open to creative deal-making as it relates to how TVN is compensated for any of those packages."

"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 for Hollywood Media Corp., which owns Totally Hollywood TV.

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," Illowsky added.

He would not disclose the fees Hollywood Media pays to TVN.

TVN has exclusivity deals with most of its partners, but Riley said the company is willing to serve as the conduit for its clients to pitch other VOD distributors, such as In Demand and stand-alone MSO services, for carriage.

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.