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'Start Over' part of Time Warner Cable-NBC pact

Sun, 10/23/2005 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

NBC Universal Cable (NBCU) and NBC will allow Time Warner Cable to incorporate "Start Over" as part of a new distribution agreement with the MSO.

As a new twist on video-on-demand, Start Over will enable viewers to backup to the start of a program that is already in progress. The MSO is expected to launch Start Over later this year.

Under the deal, Time Warner Cable will be allowed to Start Over-enable "select" programming from NBC and NBCU cable properties such as USA Networks, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, and SCI FI. NBC is believed to be the first broadcaster to sign up for the MSO's Start Over service.

Some shows that run on NBC's networks are not owned by the company, and, therefore, won't apply to Start Over at the get-go. NBC series that do qualify include Las Vegas and The Office. Hits such as USA Networks' Monk and SCI FI's Battlestar Galactica will also be available for Start Over.

Of special interest to programmers is that viewers who engage Start Over are not permitted to fast-forward through the commercials.

"We expect Start Over will help deliver more engaged viewers to our advertisers," said NBCU President David Zaslav, in a release.

"This agreement provides us with extremely desirable programming for Start Over, our VOD offerings and interactive television making Time Warner Cable customers and NBCU viewers the big winners," said Time Warner Cable EVP Fred Dressler, in a release.

The agreement also gives the operator the on-demand rights to NBC News shows (including Nightly News and Meet the Press) and, for the first time, Hardball with Chris Mathews and The Abrahms Report; and CNBC's Mad Money and Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.

NBC noted it would cooperate with Time Warner on some "interactive opportunities," and participate in some upcoming iTV technology trials.

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