It’s taken 3 years, but we’re finally seeing the interactive and high tech bells and whistles Rupert Murdoch promised when he purchased DirecTV in spring of ’03. We’re also seeing more marketing subterfuge from Murdoch, as DTV plans to launch at least 2 "VOD" services this year. The more notable of the 2 is a broadband VOD download service that DTV is pitching as satellites answer to cable’s VOD library. The service lets subs with any broadband connection (cable, DSL, etc) download content to their TV set-tops. It launches in 4Q with 2K titles and, "only a single headend for us to manage," evp, entertainment Eric Shanks boasted at DTV’s "Analyst Day"-the operator’s 1st since News Corp took over. The other "VOD" service is DVR-based and will launch in the next couple months. Then there’s the interactive stuff that Murdoch has been promising for the past 3 years. DTV will launch a Fox News ITV service in 3Q; an interactive real-time ratings service in April; an interactive game service called "DirecTV Gamestar;" and an ITV service tied in with the RSN YES Net in July, immediately following baseball’s All-Star game. YES says it will make the service available to NYC-area cable operators, and hopes to have some signed for the ’07 season. "I’ve been placing the calls," YES COO Ray Hopkins says. The YES ITV features include in-game box scores; out-of-town scoreboards; player stats and bios; games; and something dubbed Starcam. The services will be available only during games, not commercials or pre-/post-game shows.

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How Popular is OTT?

New research from Parks Associates found that 61% of US broadband households subscribe to two or more OTT services as of 3Q20, up from

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