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VOOM Launches HD VOD Service

In what maybe a first for a U.S. programmer, VOOM has launched on-demand offerings in high-definition for its internationally distributed VOOM HD and Rush HD services. The HD VOD offerings will provide distributors with five hours each month for each channel.

Glenn Oakley, VOOM HD Networks’ senior vice president of global operations and business development, said that as far as he knows, it is the first time a U.S. programmer has launched an HD VOD offering in international markets.

“We are seeing a lot of operators who are launching our HD channels in getting into VOD in high-def, as well as standard-def,” Oakley said in a phone interview from London. “We thought this was a perfect way to set ourselves apart from other providers by providing a solid VOD offering.”

VOD in general, and specifically HD VOD, has moved much slower internationally, but Oakley believes that IPTV, cable and even satellite providers are now embracing VOD and high-definition technologies. Major markets for HD launches, he said, include the U.K., where Sky has been aggressively expanding its HD channel lineup and such Asian markets as Singapore, Korea and Japan.

The company has yet to launch a HD VOD services in the U.S. and Oakley declined to reveal its domestic timetable.

The company has had an HD VOD offering in Singapore for about a year for its WorldSport HD service. But that product was never designed to be distributed outside Singapore, Oakley said. In contrast, VOOM is actively selling the new VOOM HD and Rush HD VOD packages throughout international markets.

VOOM is also planning to make some of the content available on standard-def. “We think they could also be used in standard-def as a barker services to promote the HD programming,” Oakley said.