Television

AOL.com launches broadband network

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MUMBAI:To further leverage its position,Warner's, television division is the latest to get on to the net as a distribution platform.Thousands of episodes from some of the most popular television series of all time will make a comeback exclusively on AOL.com (http://www.aol.com) in early 2006, thanks to a collaboration between AOL and Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution to form a new broadband network.

The network called In2TV  will allow consumers to stream through full-length episodes from series such as Welcome Back Kotter, Sisters, Beetlejuice, Lois & Clark, La Femme Nikita and Growing Pains free and on-demand on the Web. Along with full-length episodes, In2TV will also include unique interactive features such as games, quizzes, polls, trivia contests and more.

AOL says that its video search engine draws from the AOL Video on Demand archive of more than 18,000 licensed and originally produced assets and over 1.5 million video assets on the Internet indexed through AOLs Singingfish.This first-of-its-kind interactive video experience demonstrates the impact of broadband now in 53 per cent of US households --on the television industry, as broadband provides a new platform for television assets on the Internet.In2TV will leverage the unique capabilities of the online medium, allowing broadband consumers to experience, enjoy and interact with these series in a variety of ways.

AOL Media Networks executive VP, Kevin Conroy, says, With In2TV, we are enabling Web users to experience and interact with television programming in an entirely new way, and creating a new distribution platform for TV content. This is an exciting new way to experience these shows, allowing Web users to enjoy what they want, when they want it. We view this collaboration as truly transformational and yet another demonstration of our commitment to making our next-generation AOL.com portal the best destination for video on the Web.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group president .Kevin Tsujihara, says,Our goal is to be a leader in offering consumers unique and innovative entertainment options so that they can have as many choices as possible when it comes to choosing content. This deal with AOL is a great example of moving in that right direction.We look forward to continuing to work with AOL on this and other exciting entertainment offerings as new platforms and markets are embraced by consumers."

He adds,"This service will bring an unprecedented collection of popular TV series to a totally new platform, revolutionizing the distribution of television programming. It will enable users the opportunity to be entertained and to interact with the programming that has groundbreaking interactive features. Visitors will be able to programme their own personal network, making it a TV lovers dream come true.

The In2TV site will organize the TV series into six genre-themed channels, listed below. (Additional channels will be launched at a later date.) Fans will also be able to search the series by show titles, cast names, and other key words and phrases. This programming will be combined with highly engaging and interactive editorial, promotional and game content. Fans can enjoy special interactive features, including:

- Starchives- This has episodes featuring stars before they were stars, including Brad Pitt on Growing Pains, and Jay Leno on Alice

- Punchlines - They consist of viral comedy clips

- TV Karaoke - These are sing-alongs with favorite TV show themes

- Classic Crème de la Crème - This is a showcase of the most memorable episodes of a given series

- Betcha Didnt Know!: The Ultimate TV Quiz - In this section fans can test their TV trivia skills

- RetroRunway - This looks at fashion from TV series

- StarFavs - This is a motley collection of the stars favourite episodes

- Where Are They Now?  Here viewers can find out where their favourite stars are now

In2TV will also provide 88 interactive experiences in the first year built around specific shows. Examples of these interactive experiences could include unlocking additional material like a famous martial artist commenting on the mysteries of Shaolin in the Kung Fu series, or testing a viewers intricate and arcane knowledge on subjects as diverse as the complex world of Babylon 5 or the 80s in conjunction with an iconic show like Growing Pains.

In2TV will also provide AOLs advertisers with video inventory for instream broadband advertising as well as opportunities for sponsorships and accompanying banner ads. Video ads, 15-second and 30-second spots, will be limited to a total of 1-2 minutes within each 30-minute episode as compared to eigth minutes of advertising on broadcast television.

These series will be offered in a new DVD quality video format called AOL Hi-Q. This new technology, which builds upon AOLs industry-leading online video experience, enables high resolution, full-screen viewing. It will be made available free to any broadband user (along with standard-quality streaming). AOL.com is the first major portal to offer this kind of high quality video experience to consumers.

The television content will serve as a cornerstone of the AOL.com website's commitment to delivering broadband video through AOL Video on Demand (www.aol.com/video) and AOL Video Search (www.aol.com/videosearch and www.aolsearch.com), as well as through AOL Television (http://www.aol.com/television).

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