Time Warner Cable customers in South Carolina will have access to short-form video content while watching CNBC, CNN and The Weather Channel. This is thanks to a new service, Quick Clips, originally announced in April at the National Show, and made available to the 150,000 subscribers in the company’s South Carolina division last week. Quick Clips will leverage Time Warner’s existing VOD platform. The company has layered in a new VOD catcher, what the company calls a Packaged Media Gateway (PMG). Associated software allows for pre-encoded content to be fed via VPN to the PMG, which then dynamically publishes it to the VOD server. Programmers are responsible for encoding based on CableLabs’ MPEG-2 spec. “Traditional content is typically updated over the course of a month’s time (via satellite delivery),” said Bob Benya, senior vice president of On Demand Product Management for Time Warner Cable. “With the Quick Clip architecture, you can refresh content many times during the day.” Programmers can target and time content based on the types of shows that are on the air. For example, The Weather Channel can provide forecasts a couple times a day based on geographical regions. Viewers access Quick Clips by responding to on-screen prompts that ask them to select an enhanced TV menu. They can then choose from the available content. Once the snippet is finished, the current live program will reappear. This type of “sticky application” will keep viewers watching the channel longer, Benya said. This is not the first time that South Carolina will serve as the first of Time Warner’s markets to receive a new service. The company launched both S-VOD and Start Over, a time-shifting technology, in Columbia. According to Benya, Time Warner did some “fairly significant” VOD capacity upgrades in South Carolina to support Start Over, making it the right place to introduce Quick Clips as well. “Wherever we put Start Over in, Quick Clips will be (there) shortly thereafter,” he said. Time Warner already has announced Rochester, NY; San Antonio; and Greensboro, NC; and Benya says there is a “growing list” of systems in the technical preparation stage that just haven’t been announced yet. Other MSOs have been in the news lately on the enhanced TV front as well. Comcast and Cox’s joint venture, TVWorks, recently formed a partnership with Ensequence, an interactive TV authoring software provider. Programmers will use the Ensequence software to create content to run on the TVWorks’ platform, which leverages CableLabs Enhanced Television—Binary Interchange Format standard. For its part, Time Warner says it is in talks with a lot of companies about possible roles throughout its platform, but wouldn’t provide any specifics. —Monta Monaco Hernon

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