Cox Communications, following a recent request for proposal, has settled on SeaChange International as its second source for video-on-demand systems and servers.

Cox said it plans to deploy SeaChange's VOD gear and "VODlink" technology in "select" systems early next year. An MSO spokeswoman declined to disclose which markets Cox plans to deploy SeaChange in, but reiterated guidance that Cox plans to launch another five VOD markets by the end of Q1 2004, and expects by then to have about half of its digital homes passed with VOD services.

SeaChange's VODlink software is designed to make VOD menuing easier for the customer to navigate and to enable programmers to create branded content. It also enables operators to add DVD-style features to their VOD content libraries.

Cox noted that it would offer VODlink in some systems populated with digital set-tops from Motorola Broadband. Candidates for the software could include Motorola-based Cox markets such as Omaha, Neb.; Orange County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

The deal's financial terms were not disclosed, but analysts applauded SeaChange's latest MSO win. IRG Research Analyst Erik Zamkoff estimated in a research note that the value of the contract could run between $15 million to $20 million over the next 12 months. IRG also raised its price target on SeaChange shares to $20 from $15, and placed a "buy" rating on the stock.

Cox, in partnership with its first VOD supplier, Concurrent Computer Corp., presently offers VOD in four markets: Hampton Roads, Va.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and San Diego, Calif. Based on market size, leading candidates for additional VOD rollouts by the MSO could include Cleveland, Ohio; Omaha, Neb.; Orange County, Calif.; and Tulsa Okla.

Cox also awarded an additional VOD market to Concurrent, but was not specific on location.