SureWest launches 'watch & buy' video service in Kansas City

SureWest Communications (NASDAQ: SURW) has upgraded its SeaChange-based video-on-demand software to allow subscribers of its IPTV service to watch selected Warner Bros. movies on demand and then buy the DVD or Blu-Ray discs version of the movie for home delivery.

So far the service is available only in SureWest's Kansas City, Kan., market. The telco, which is the first pay-TV operator to deploy the year-old service, said the upgrade will also allow subscribers to navigate VOD faster and reduce program launch times.

All of which, Ken Johnson, vice president & chief technology officer of SureWest, said, should help it gain an edge in one of its most competitive markets.

"We see our upgrade to VODlink 5.0 and the launch of Watch & Buy as a significant step in differentiating the services and experiences we can offer to current and potential subscribers," said Johnson. "Being the first to deploy both VODlink 5.0 and Watch & Buy is indicative of SureWest's ability to continuously embrace new technologies and advanced services."

SeaChange has configured several first-run titles from Warner Bros. studios for disc purchase in Kansas City the same day they are released for VOD viewing, including Arthur, Hall Pass, Something Borrowed, Sucker Punch, Red Riding Hood and Unknown.

Watch & Buy includes a set-top application, user interface customization and fully managed back-end order fulfillment. A DVD symbol appearing next to select titles in an operator's VOD library alerts subscribers that the title is also available for purchase as a DVD or download. Subscribers may be presented with the opportunity to order DVDs in different formats such as Blu-ray.

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