Walt Disney's international business development unit has joined forces with Swiss digital security specialist Kudelski to create a video-on-demand (VOD) set-top box joint venture. The new device will have both VOD and digital video recorder (DVR) functionality, and will be shipped with pre-loaded programming content from Disney as well as third-party media groups that wish to supply material.
Disney and Kudelski's new product—designed to operate with satellite, cable, terrestrial and internet protocol television (IPTV) delivery systems—is being developed for non-US, Canadian and Japanese markets.
Disney said it would work with Kudelski in developing the so-called 'push VOD' technology, as well as acquiring, managing and playing out content for the new service. "The system will use proprietary push VOD technologies and appealing and easy-to-use navigation systems developed by The Walt Disney Company and the Kudelski Group," said a Kudelski statement.
Disney television chief Laurie Younger said: "We believe this offering will simplify the process for broadcasters looking to launch their own bespoke VOD and DVR services, harnessing the latest technology to bring content to viewers in new and flexible ways." The company's involvement in the joint venture is being handled via Walt Disney Television International's Ventures & Business Development Group.
André Kudelski, chairman and CEO of the Kudelski Group, said: "We are very pleased to benefit from WDTV-I's in depth experience with viewers and to be able to support attractive new business models thanks to our own creative state of the art technology".
Disney's international television venture group manages its equity investments in business opportunities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Those investments include stakes in the UK's HomeChoice IPTV service and GMTV, as well as Super RTL and RTL 2 in Germany; the pay-TV service HBO Central Europe in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia; and the IPS Multicanal thematic channels service in Spain and Portugal.
The WDTV-I portfolio also includes FilmFlex, the new joint venture VOD movie service, first launched in January and rolling out across UK cable during 2005/2006.
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