Verizon Teams with New England Patriots on Free VOD Offering

--Maya Entertainment in VOD Deal with iN DEMAND

Verizon announced last week that has launched a range of free on-demand programming on the New England Patriots American football team to subscribers to its FiOS TV service in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The programming, which is located in the company's locally themed VOD service, FiOS1 Local Zone, is being offered as part of a multi-year marketing partnership with the New England Patriots. It includes coverage of news conferences from Patriots coach, Bill Belichick, and quarterback, Tom Brady; "Patriots Locker Room," which features player reactions after each game; "Patriots Monday," a video version of WEEI's weekly interviews with Coach Belichick; "Patriots Today," a daily show hosted by Kristin Akra, that features reports, commentary and analysis; "Patriots All Access," which is billed as an "inside look from the practice field"; "Press Pass," which is billed as a "behind-the-scenes look at Patriots activities"; video biographies of Patriots cheerleaders; and a video special entitled "The Making of the Patriots Cheerleader Calendar."

The programming that is delivered via the new VOD offering is also available on the New England Patriots Web site (though not on any local cable platforms, Verizon points out). According to Verizon, more Patriots programming will be added to the offering in the coming weeks. In order to promote the offering, Verizon--whose marketing deal with the Patriots also designates it as the latter's "official telecommunications partner"--is giving away four seats and a VIP package to the November 22nd game between the team and the New York Jets as the grand prize for a Patriots Gridiron Challenge ( contest. Other programming on FiOS1 Local Zone includes the New England talent show, "Community Auditions," auto racing, and men's and women's college sports.

In other VOD news: Maya Entertainment, a content provider that targets a Latino audience, has signed a distribution deal with cable industry-owned VOD content-aggregator, iN DEMAND (note: the latter's shareholders are Comcast, Cox, and Time Warner Cable-Advance/Newhouse). Earlier this year, Maya signed a similar deal with TVN Entertainment (now Avail-TVN). "As the VOD business continues to grow, Maya is staying ahead of the trend by actively ramping up our VOD footprint," Maya Entertainment co-chairman, Jeff Valdez, said in a prepared statement. "This agreement will bring our robust library of quality films into the homes of millions of cable subscribers who will now be able to instantly enjoy great films that cater to their unique interests." Added iN DEMAND EVP, David Asch: "Because of their unique understanding of the Latino market and unparalleled library of Latino themed films, Maya represents the ideal partner to help us deliver a greater variety of content to this important demographic group."

North America