A Canadian First for Video on Demand.
Illico on Demand is bringing its subscribers high-definition (HD) content under an exclusive partnership with Productions J. It is the first time in Canada that HD programming is being made available on a Video on Demand (VoD) service. Starting today, illico Digital TV subscribers equipped with an illico HD set-top box or a High Definition Personal Video Recorder (HD-PVR) are able to enjoy La Tournee Star Academie 2005, concert tour footage featuring contestants from the hit reality talent contest Star Academie, in high-definition with 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound. For $14.99, customers get unlimited viewing of the concert on illico on Demand for 24 hours. The program is available exclusively to Videotron customers with HD equipment and precedes until the Tournee Star Academie 2005 DVD is released in June.
The 2-hour concert featuring 13 performers from the last season of Star Academie is a celebration of music that takes audiences on a journey through the hits of the past. Highlights include Medley Racines, a toe-tapping compendium of Quebec folk music, and Medley Diva, a tribute to great female vocalists including Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, Cher, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross and Janis Joplin. In all, fans get more than 20 songs, including the ever-popular Tu m'aimes-tu performed by Marc-Andre Fortin and the Acadian classic Evangeline, performed by our favourite Acadian Annie Blanchard. The cast of the show - Annie, Audrey, Bruno, David, Francis, Jennifer, Kaven, Linda, Marc, Marc-Andre, Stephanie, Steve and Valerie - offer up electrifying performances, rousing medleys and moments of humour in a compelling concert sprinkled with surprises.
"By bringing this Canadian first to illico on Demand, Videotron, Archambault Group and Productions J are once again setting the trend rather than following it," said Robert Depatie, President and Chief Executive Officer of Videotron Ltd. "We are again positioning ourselves as industry trailblazers, delivering the best we have to offer to customers. Our commitment to provide the best possible user experience remains our daily priority."
HD making inroads
Since Videotron began offering high definition in 2002, increasing numbers of illico Digital TV subscribers have switched to the service. Today, HD has a penetration rate of nearly 9% among Videotron subscribers, well above the national average of approximately 3%. The move towards HD has gathered momentum since the beginning of the year: 17% of new digital television subscribers are choosing set-top boxes that support HD content.
Video on Demand growing in popularity
The illico on Demand service logged more than 10 million paid and free orders in 2005 and over 4.4 million orders in the first quarter of 2006 alone. Videotron remains the only Video on Demand provider in its service area, with a VoD catalogue of over 1,000 films, television programs and documentaries. The addition of the 2005 Star Academie tour, along with premieres of the television series Le Negociateur II and Nos Etes II, made possible by a partnership with Archambault Group, address emerging entertainment consumption habits and today's active lifestyle. "These partnerships also entail substantial value-added for illico on Demand," commented Mr. Depatie.
All illico set-top boxes support VoD. Users can pause, rewind or fast forward a program or film, just like a DVD. They can stop the program and continue watching it at any time within a 24-hour period. Videotron customers can order the service simply by going to channel 900 and following the on-screen instructions.
Videotron Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quebecor Media Inc., is an integrated communications company engaged in cable television, interactive multimedia development, Internet access services and residential telephone service. Videotron is a leader in new technologies with its illico interactive television system and its broadband network, which supports high-speed cable Internet access, analog and digital cable television, and other services. As of March 31, 2006, Videotron was serving 1,520,000 cable television customers in Quebec; including 512,000 illico subscribers. Videotron is also the Quebec leader in high-speed Internet access, with 699,000 subscribers to its cable modem and dial-up services. In addition, Videotron provides residential telephone service to more than 227,000 customers in Quebec.
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