Starz Entertainment Taps Avail-TVN as "Preferred" VOD Distributor

Avail-TVN--the company formed earlier this month from the merger of VOD distribution services provider, TVN Entertainment, and Avail Media, a provider of managed content aggregation services for smaller IPTV operators (see article published on, July 15th)--announced Tuesday that it has signed a long-term VOD services deal with premium programming provider, Starz Entertainment, that designates it as the latter's "preferred" VOD distributor. Starz is a long-time TVN customer.

According to Avail-TVN, the new deal will expand the amount of content available to subscribers of Starz' Starz On Demand, Encore On Demand and MoviePlex On Demand services to as much as 350 titles or 650 hours in standard-definition, and to as much as 56 titles or 111 hours in high-definition, depending on the subscriber's cable operator. The company also claims that the deal will make Starz one of the largest purveyors of VOD content--and especially of HD VOD content--in the US. Titles covered by the deal include movies such as "Hancock," "Pineapple Express" and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," and Starz original series, such as "Crash," "Head Case" and "Party Down." "We're thrilled to have signed this long-term agreement with Starz Entertainment," Avail-TVN SVP of strategy and business, Matt Cohen, said in a prepared statement. "This deal is a clear indicator that consumer demand for VOD continues to grow and is stronger than ever before. Avail-TVN is well positioned to meet these demands and premium channel providers such as Starz Entertainment realize this."

Avail-TVN says that the deal will enable Starz to take advantage of a range of VOD services that it offers, including metadata publishing, distribution and asset management services to support various codecs, formats, fast-turnaround requirements, distribution platforms and advertising initiatives across North America. Among other things, Starz will use Avail-TVN's interactive, Web-based asset tracking and management toolset, Provider Remote Interface (PRI), which is billed as enabling live updates to VOD programs via automated metadata conversions, and as providing for a broad array of services, including appending, encoding/transcoding, delivery and asset management services. The deal will also see Avail-TVN offering the new and expanded packages directly to its affiliates, as an extension of its affiliate sales network program, the company says.

North America