Magazine article Marketing

Three-Way Fight in US for a Pizza Digital TV Action

Magazine article Marketing

Three-Way Fight in US for a Pizza Digital TV Action

Article excerpt

An extraordinary three-headed media battle is about to break out in the US which will almost inevitably cause echoes here, even if they are delayed and distorted.

If you pass Seaworld and the Epcot Centre and travel on to Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando you can see one of the protagonists in almost Disneyesque splendour. You can pull up one of 100 movies in a matter of seconds, pause it like a video, and then use your remote control to order the pizza of your choice from the local Pizza Hut.

Until now everyone has marvelled at the wonder of it all but quickly realised that the huge video servers that deliver the streams of video on demand are simply too expensive to make a real business in the foreseeable future. Except that Time Warner, which has spent something like $100m ([pounds]64m) on the Orlando network - essentially a gigantic marketing experiment involving 4000 homes - has just ordered one million digital boxes to use on its US cable networks. Scientific-Atlanta, which is making most of the boxes, believes Internet access and data services could be available almost from the outset and that full video on demand could be economic within a couple of years, although pizza ordering may take a little longer.

Over in Denver, John Malone of TCI is taking a more cautious course. After running into a small problem last year - the loss of 70,000 subscribers to satellite in a single quarter - he decided to reassess everything.

The result, to be announced in a month or two, is likely to be a $1. …

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