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Rogers launches beta version of iPad app for live streaming

Fri, 12/16/2011 - 2:38pm
Mike Robuck

Rogers Live TVAs part of its overall TV anywhere strategy, today Rogers Communications announced the beta launch of its Rogers Live TV app for iPads, which enables live streaming of shows in subscribers’ homes.

Rogers Live TV, which the company said was a first in Canada, functions along the same lines as Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications’ iPad apps by using IP to deliver the signals. The shows are then transmitted around a home via Wi-Fi.

Currently, Rogers is offering 20 channels for live streaming, most of which are over-the-air basic channels. In order to access the channels, users must have to subscribe to Rogers’ video and broadband services.

The Rogers Live TV app is scheduled to officially launch early next year, with an Android version to follow shortly thereafter.

“It’s part of our overall TV anywhere strategy,” said David Purdy, vice president of video products at Rogers, in an interview with CED this morning. “We’re doing a number of things to deliver and provision video-on-demand to PCs, tablets and smartphones.

“We’ve been working on this for about a year, but we could have executed it faster. A lot of the delay was around rights issues and timing on when we could promote this from a marketing perspective. The cycle times for innovation are much faster in the IP space, for sure.”

Purdy said Rogers is well on the way down the IP migration path with live feeds from its Web portal, which features free, basic and premium video content, the latter of which requires authentication.

“It’s easy for us to tweak user interface, user experience, and change pricing packaging on our authenticated portal,” Purdy said. “All of that is much simpler than if you’re trying to do that in the current or legacy STB environment, and that’s why we are committed to moving ultimately to all-IP for our entire video offerings.”

Purdy said the iPad and Android apps are just one part of Rogers’ big-picture efforts to provision video content across its quad-play services. Unlike large cable operators down south, Rogers has its feet in the mobile world through its own phone service.

“This ties into the general repositioning of our entire cable product,” he said. “Twenty-four months ago, we were selling cable television; now we sell TV anywhere, and really it’s broader than television. Because of our mobile customers and our mobile base, we have all four screens in the home, so it’s really important for us to make that content available across all of the devices.”

In addition to blending quad-play services, Rogers also is able to offer its own sports content through its recent purchase of the controlling stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Purdy said Rogers was going to reposition its entire line of cable products early next year.

“You’re going to see a number of announcements from us in 2012 where we position the cable product in the minds of consumers,” Purdy said. “Some of it’s capitalizing on work we’ve already done, and some of it will be about work we’re doing over the next few months.”

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