VideoNet in new video on demand trial

VideoNet, a new company set up to offer video on demand (VOD) services, this week confirmed that it plans to launch the UK’s second video on demand trial in the new year.

Unlike BT’s interactive multimedia trials, which include VOD and which are due to launch in East Anglia next week, VideoNet plans to offer on-line marketing assessment to test product concepts, advertising material, promotion and packaging.

VideoNet has teamed up with Kingston Communications, which provides telephone services for Hull and the surrounding region. The test will involve 250 homes in the city.

Also on offer will be movies, TV programmes, interactive learning packages, local programmes, home shopping and banking. Discussions are under way with companies to participate in the trials.

VideoNet was set up in 1992 by chairman Simon Hochauser, former founder and chief executive of technology venture fund J Rothschild Group. Its plans are welcomed by those who believe BT should not be the only company testing, developing and eventually managing VOD services.

“Both major political parties have made clear their commitment to a fair and open access policy with regard to BT’s network,” Hochauser says. “We expect Oftel’s forthcoming consultative document on multimedia will provide our industry with the basis for an essential level playing field.”

Oftel, the telecommunications industry watchdog, was due to publish its consultation document as Marketing Week went to press. It is expected to propose a radical shake-up of the telecoms industry allowing BT much more freedom on pricing and its future competitive activities in the telecoms and entertainment market.