Astral launches VOD classics service


TORONTO -- Canadian premium pay TV and specialty channel operator Astral Media Inc. on Wednesday launched Mpix OnDemand, Canada's first subscription VOD service offering classic movies.

Montreal-based Astral said Mpix OnDemand, offered initially to Rogers digital cable subscribers in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, will offer movies already screening on the Mpix and Mescape classic film channels.

Astral's latest free, on-demand service aims at keeping subscribers engaged and reducing subscriber churn, much as Astral's the Movie Network OnDemand service, which features first-run Hollywood and Canadian movies, first did when launched in June 2004.

"The success of the Movie Network OnDemand clearly indicates that we have entered an on-demand world where consumers want and expect choice and convenience when it comes to their television viewing," Domenic Vivolo, senior vp of marketing and sales at Astral Television Networks, said.

Mpix OnDemand's content will feature commercial-free classic movies five years or older, starting this month with the first five films in the "Rocky" franchise, "Saturday Night Fever," "Footloose" and "The Princess Bride."