BT Vision in VOD Deal with NBC Universal International Television

--Arqiva's SeeSaw Service in VOD Deal with BBC Worldwide

UK incumbent telco, BT, said Tuesday that it has signed a VOD deal with NBC Universal International Television that will make a number of the latter's shows available on BT Vision, the telco's Microsoft Mediaroom-powered, interactive TV-enabled hybrid IPTV service (note: the service is enabled via a hybrid set-top box that allows viewers to access linear channels from the UK's free-to-air digital terrestrial platform, Freeview, alongside IP-delivered on-demand and interactive content).

Under the terms of the deal, BT Vision customers will be able to access individual episodes of NBC Universal's shows on a pay-per-view basis, or, if they subscribe to BT Vision's TV Pack, as part of that subscription. "We are delighted to sign a deal with NBC Universal, so that we can offer some of the most successful US drama series all in one place and available for TV Pack customers to watch whenever they want," BT Vision CEO, Marc Watson, said in a prepared statement.

NBC Universal shows covered by the deal include "Heroes," "House," "Law & Order," "The Office," and "30 Rock." Last month (see the article published on itvt.com, November 16th) BT revealed that BT Vision secured only 3,000 net new subscribers (18,000 gross new subscribers) in the three months to September 30th, down nearly 50% from the previous quarter.

In related news: Arqiva--the broadcast transmission company which earlier this year acquired the platform assets of Project Kangaroo, the VOD platform developed by UKVOD, a joint venture between the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and terrestrial broadcasters, ITV and Channel 4, for a price believed to be in the £8 million range (note: Project Kangaroo was believed to be close to launch, when it was nixed in February by the Competition Commission, an independent public body that investigates mergers, markets and regulated industries at the UK government's behest), and which plans to use those platform assets to launch a new, Web-based, consumer-facing VOD service, called SeeSaw, to UK consumers in the coming months, that will offer both free and paid content, including "top-end quality content from leading broadcasters and independent content providers"--on Tuesday announced its first major content deal for the new service: with BBC Worldwide. "Today's announcement is a significant milestone for SeeSaw, demonstrating our commitment to deliver a rich and varied range of British programming," SeeSaw CEO, Pierre-Jean Sebert, said in a prepared statement. "By offering an enhanced viewing experience and great content, SeeSaw will become the ideal destination for consumers to indulge their passion for TV." Content covered by the deal includes such shows as "Doctor Who," "Cranford," "Lark Rise to Candleford," and "That Mitchell and Webb Look."

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