announced today that Western Illinois Video Networks (WIV), a statewide consortium of eight rural telephone service providers, has licensed its video-on-demand () programming and usage tracking software for their IPTV networks. No longer is an ancillary service, VOD now a requirement to compete in today’s triple play landscape. The reality is that VOD and the VOD experience may come to represent the future of television as we know it.

VOD has been a challenge to more rural operators because of its additional cost and immature business model factors – factors that make it difficult for systems with subscriber counts in the low hundreds or thousands to justify a suspect ROI. But rural operators are increasingly viewing VOD as necessary to compete, or even differentiate. Rural IPTV operators often face cable competitors who have yet to upgrade their rural cable infrastructure to two-way digital, thus preventing them from offering VOD. By being the first to offer VOD in their markets, some rural operators are in a position to use it to their own competitive advantage.

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