Cablevision developing 'highly graphical,' cloud-based IPG

Tools

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) will soon deploy a new cloud-based interactive program guide that will let digital cable subscribers search a database containing a month's worth of listings for TV series and movies, executives said Thursday.

Jim Dolan, Cablevision

Dolan

"It's highly graphical. It has great search capability, indexing capability. It's very fast," CEO Jim Dolan said on Cablevision's first quarter earnings call. "We think it will compare favorably to any guide that's out there--not just cable or satellite--but even those services like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX)," Dolan added.

Hildenbrand, the former Cablevision CTO that Dolan has brought out of retirement to work on new products such as the IPG, said the app Cablevision has built for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad is similar to the guide Cablevision is developing for cable subscribers. "You get an idea of what the set-top guide looks like," Hildenbrand said.

By moving to a cloud-based guide, Cablevision will be able to let subscribers search for more than 30 days of TV listings data, Hildenbrand said, noting that its current guide offers the ability to browse seven days of data. That could help Cablevision leapfrog the capabilities of the Interactive Media Guide that rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) distributes to FiOS TV subscribers. That guide lets subscribers search two weeks of data.

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is also moving to a cloud-based architecture with the rollout of X1, its next generation digital video service. 

Cablevision reported Thursday that it added 7,000 subscribers in the first quarter. Dolan said he expects that investments in new products such as the IPG and the construction of new WiFi hotspots will help subscriber growth. "I can tell you that our initiatives, many of them take effect in the third quarter of this year, some of them into the fourth quarter. We're hoping that they're going to have a significant impact on growth," Dolan said.

Also worth noting from Cablevision's Q1 earnings call:

  • Dolan said Cablevision will moved up the timeline for converting to an all-digital network, noting that the company expects to complete the conversion later this year. That will allow Cablevision to expand the rollout of its RS-DVR, a network-based DVR, to its entire footprint.
  • Cablevision said it is looking to sell the 45 movie theaters it owns, noting that its Clearview Cinemas subsidiary is hurting cash flow.
  • Dolan, who took an operating role at Cablevision after COO Tom Rutledge resigned in December, said he doesn't yet plan to hire a replacement. "I plan to stay right where I am in the operating role I'm in for some time. I would anticipate at least through this year, and beyond, because we have a lot of work to do, and I feel that I need to be right here to do it," Dolan said.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Special Report: Cable in the first quarter of 2012

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