Beating the competition – HDNet vs InHD

In the world of HDTV, there are 4 channels that are exclusive to High Definition TV, HDNet and HDNet Movies, of which I, Todd Wagner and Phil Garvin are the proud owners, and InHD and InHD2. InHDs are owned by a consortium of the largest cable companies.

David vs Goliath. Well Goliath has been saying some not so nice things at seminars and to customers lately, so I thought I would avoid all the clutter and clucking and just throw up some fun facts. Neither of us is perfect, but I can assure you they are a little less perfect than HDNet and HDNet Movies .

One of the claims that they made was that InHD had more programming in HD than any other network. So I had someone on our staff start tracking their schedule starting Nov 29th through the Dec 26th (based on their published schedules). I knew they repeated programming far more often than we did, but I couldnt quantify it. I also didnt know how many hours of programming, original or otherwise that they showed every month. Now I know.

I have to say in going through the results, there were some very, very nostalgic moments. On their schedule was A Dogs Day in Manhattan , Over Arizona and A Day in the Dirt . All very nice programs. I know because they were all we could afford when HDNet first launched in Sept of 2001. Fortunately, even in our first months, we never replayed them as much as InHD does. A Dogs Day, was a dogs 12 days on InHD running 12 times combined on their 2 channels, including FIVE times in primetime ! Over Arizona was repeated 17 times, with 2 prime time plays with A Day in the Dirt rolling by 10 times. Instant HD Classics I guess.

But I digress. Seventeen is a lot of repeats, but its not the InHD champ. That title belongs to the animated film, Santa vs the Snowman. 21 Repeats. InHd has two shows they repeated more than 20 times in less than a month. There were 8 shows that repeated 15 or more times including the World Taco Eating Championships and Korean Sumo Wrestling. My favorite example of repeats however was the showing and reshowing of the Nov 19th University of San Francisco mens basketball game seven times.

How does that compare to HDNet and HDNet Movies combined ?

We didnt have a single program or movie that was repeated 15 or more times.

Thats not to say that we dont repeat some shows a lot. We do. We have 7 programs or movies that were shown 10 to 12times. We repeated our original show, Whats Kewl At Cedia, the most at 12 times. Never during primetime.

We repeat a new episode of HDNet World Report 10 times, with 2 primetime showings. Also repeated were our exclusive coverage of the Race of Champions in Paris, but other than its air date, non of the repeats were in primetime. On the HDNet Movies side, The movies we repeated 10 times were Diner and The Killing Fields.

A number that does give an indication as to the financial committment an HD network is willing to make is the number of different shows available on the network. Since HD is relatively new to the TV world, you have to make an effort to produce original programming or license HD compatible programming from others. HDNet NEVER does any upconverts at all. 100 percent of our programming was either shot with an HD camera or converted from a 35mm negative. Im going to give InHD the benefit of the doubt and assume theirs is as well. Lets see who works harder and invests more in HD programming.

All told in the period covered, across both networks, InHD and InHD2 broadcast 163 different programs, events or movies. Of those 163 different shows, 39, or just under 25 percent were repeated 10 or more times. More than half of their schedule was repeated 5 or more times.

In serious contrast, HDNet and HDNet Moviesbroadcast 540 different programs, events or movies. Those numbers are absolutely correct. We broadcast almostFOUR TIMES as many different shows asInHD and InHD2 combined. Of those 540 different programs, 172 were programs or events shot and produced by HDNet exclusively in 1080i HD for HDNet.

Im proud to say that HDNetshot , produced and broadcast more shows in thismonth period than InHD and InHD showed in total, combined on their networks !

Of course number of repeats and total showsdoesnt tell the whole story. Im not going to argue quality of programming, we have them handsdown in thatdepartment as well.But you can subscribe to HDNet and HDNet Movies to judge that for yourself !

What the numbers do show without question is our committment to great programming and customer satisfaction. HDNet has made the commitment to produce and license shows that our subscribers want to watch.

We realize that HD is a new experience for our viewers. That it is so compelling that viewers come back every day, excited to see more. They want to become addicted to HD !

We dont want them coming back to our channels excited to see what is onand always seeing the same 5 or 10 shows repeated day after day.We want them to be completely entertained each time they turn on HDNet or HDNet Movies and always coming back for more. Knowing that with our variety of great programming, they can always find something fun to watch.It makes for happy viewers, and happy cable and satellite partners !

I like the way we compare to our competition. Best of all, our committment to programming is growing by the day. HDNet Films premieres this coming year. We have new original programming that we will be announcing. More specials. More concerts. The best is yet to come, so stay tuned !

32 thoughts on “Beating the competition – HDNet vs InHD

  1. I remember the hockey games were really cool.. although i dont enjoy hocky. and even in HD good luck keeping up with that puck. lol. Overal, I think all the channels you mentioned have alot of room to grow… ALTHOUGH WATCHING BASEBALL ON INHD is awesome… but they still have alot of room to grow..

    Comment by runescape money -

  2. I’d say the that IMAX film catalog on INHD and the Lance Armstrong Chronicles is about the only thing really compelling I’ve seen from them (although, if I were a baseball fan, their MLB coverage…where not blacked out…would be enticing).

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  3. I’d love to see somebody like you and your investors buy the controlling interest in Comcast and kick Brian Robert’s out on his coaxial cable.

    If you guys would do with Comcast what you’ve done with Landmark Theaters and the Mavs, Comcast would run like a perfect servo on perpetually greased grooves.

    Also enjoyed your appearance on Letterman a few weeks ago. The story about Trump was quite insightful and, sadly, not surprising.

    Be well. Dream large. And live larger.

    Comment by Bob -

  4. I have comcast and I want HDNET. Should we start a petition? Let me know what I/we can do to help.

    BTW I still want to keep INHD. I really dig the cage fighting, NBA coverage, and IMAX films.

    Comment by Mitch -

  5. Hey mark I am currently a cablevision sub and i was wondering why you channel is nether on cablevision and voom. Is it cablevision being cheap as usual or do the dolans have something against you personally?

    Comment by St.CLair -

  6. In the scope of things HD Net is on the cutting edge of HDTV. The content is varied enough to give everyone a good mix of entertainment. The only concern I have is that frequency rates of repeat programming diminishes the quality. PBS HD and Discovery HD offer better quality fare than most. HD Net is right there – but, again the reruns take away from the overall product. I assume the expense of HD programming is limiting the expansion because the basic fact is most people aren’t up to speed yet with their home entertainment equipment. Until the airwaves are filled with HD programming as the FCC envisioned – I fear it is more of the same.

    Comment by Mike Ciric -

  7. Mark,

    Can you tell me what is the scoop on the KRON-HD channel in the San Francisco Bay area? I get it through Comcast HD service and carries some HDNet content. But does it really show the HDNet live sports events? Specifically I’m interested in the live MLS coverage once the season starts.

    Comment by Chandu -

  8. Mark,

    Can you tell me what is the scoop on the KRON-HD channel in the San Francisco Bay area? I get it through Comcast HD service and carries some HDNet content. But does it really show the HDNet live sports events? Specifically I’m interested in the live MLS coverage once the season starts.

    Comment by Chandu -

  9. Mark, sorry but the truth is that inHD is beating your network with NBATV-HD.

    Comment by JoeHT -

  10. That is, if you’re still even reading the comments to this entry (it’s pretty old by now :-)).

    Comment by DeeAnn -

  11. Mark, from what I’d read you had no interest on trying to get HDNet on Voom/CV (and with only about 26,000 Voom subs by 3/Q ’04 couldn’t really be considered competition to either HDNet or INHD), but what do you think about the Echostar buyout of the Rainbow-1 sat and other Voom assets (pending FCC approval), which looks to be effectively shutting the Voom service down?

    Comment by DeeAnn -

  12. Mark, I like the numbers that were rattled off but let’s remember that at the end of the day you have essentially done what ‘Goliath’ has done. That is, you have said things (your survey results) to the public (as they have) that at the end of the day we (the public) will accept at face value. That’s what the general public is well known for. If the media (your comments I feel fall under the media section) says something, it must be true right? I’m certainly not going to be the one to go and verify everything your staff member tracked. I can vouch that everyone I know is not going out to verify your numbers either. That being said, I have to trust the information that you were given and disseminated. So, how could you (HDNet) perhaps come up with the same information but not play the same game that ‘Goliath’ is playing. Well, I have a suggestion. Perhaps, involving an independent party to verify and track the interesting points you have mentioned might be a good start. Perhaps, creating a new category within the J.D. Power & Associates group might be a good idea. They currently have a cable/satellite service provider category. Perhaps J.D. Powers could create a “High-Definition Programming Category”. This would allow an outside group (I’m using J.D. Power just as an example here) to come up with some standard guidelines and subsequent results which could be fed to the public and used in all types of advertising for HDNet (if HDNet took top honors). So, this allows for HDNet to say “so and so says we are great for this and that reason”, rather than ‘Goliath’ or HDNet saying you are all great respectively (just because we would only expect those findings from each company). I hope this helps.

    One other point I wanted to mention is quality of service. Quality is the measuring stick that I personally use. In my opinion, HDNet is able to deliver higher quality content based on MY likes. I can say this because I live here in Dallas and I have experienced what Comcast offered in the way of HD programming (inHD). Now, I am not one to blast anyone. HDNet is simply ahead of the curve as far as I’m concerned. Where else can I catch a show on independent Swiss watchmakers (this is a must see for anyone that appreciates or has ever wanted a fine timepiece) one day and then Cage Fighting the next? This to me is the equivalent of HD Heaven (nice name for a new channel). Must I say anymore?

    I think it’s important for those listening to remember that although they may want the world in the way of HD programming RIGHT NOW, that we are still in the early stages of a new industry. So, just relax. It’s important to remember that HD programming and development is a marathon and not a race. From what I understand it’s an expensive proposition all the way around and those that do control content do not want to make any unnecessary mistakes. Overall support for the industry and competition is healthy and very important for the natural progression of this sector.
    Ciao!

    Comment by Ramon -

  13. Mark I’m glad to see you’re a pioneer in the field of HDTV technology. I had no idea about these sits until now. I’m starting a HDTV information site, so I will give you a plug.

    Comment by hdtv info -

  14. Hi Mark,
    Just want to say that I met a young lady that works for you in Cancun while she was filming a show I believe was called “Get Out!” If memory serves her name was Misty. I wanted you to know that she was incredible to talk to and very in touch the market you described above. (I have a 50 inch Samsung thanks to her input!) Keep great hosts around that can market your product the way she did and you cannot lose. Repeats, reruns, or rewinds or not.

    Best,

    Grant

    Comment by Grant -

  15. Hmmmm…Great Posts everyone. Here is my two cents worth. I have been a comcast cable subscriber for many years and pretty happy with the service. As soon as HD channels started to become available I upgraded to a digital receiver and bought a 50inch LCD projection TV. I pay about $117 a month for their top of the line service that gets every channel possible (except HDnet and HDnet movies)!!! I have seen inHD and inHD2 and am pretty happy with the picture quality they offer, but it is not any better than HD Discovery or one of the Premium movie channels in HD. As for HDnet and HDnet Movies I hope that comcast will pick these up in the future, I look forward to more HD choices in their lineup.

    Comment by Matt Geers -

  16. Being a Comcast customer in Dallas, I’m stuck with INHD programming. The Comcast HD offerings here are very slim since they rely on INHD and INHD2 for their HD content.

    Besides all of the bad movies and oddball European documentaries, the absolute worst thing that happened was when the December 6, 2004 Pistons vs. Mavericks game was scheduled on INHD and then BLACKED OUT in Dallas. Holy hell did that suck! I had a number of friends come over to casually watch the game, only to see INHD go black as the game started.

    Comment by Ben -

  17. i do like HDNet programming. a little quirky, and being in DFW, like seeing a few “local” shows. plus, getting to see the Harvard-Yale game was awesome!

    that said: 1) i hate repeats, but without a viable recording method for 98% of those with HDTV’s, it is nice to have some variation in the schedule for when it may be convenient to see, 2) i’m sorry, but movies broadcast in “HD” suck. DVD is far superior. and converting some 35mm print from 25 years ago, really doesn’t help much. i’d rather have anything shot in HD shown than a film.

    Comment by matt strong -

  18. Not sure why some of the Voom exclusive channels didn’t make your list of “exclusive to High Definition TV”. However, I’m sure from a variety standpoint, they can’t compare with HDNet.

    I have both Voom and Time Warner so I do get to see a lot of HDTV. In a head-to-head comparison of INHD to HDNet, HDNet wins hands down, in my opinion. I can count on one hand the number of programs/series that I have watched on INHD. I watch HDNet much, much more!

    I’d say the that IMAX film catalog on INHD and the Lance Armstrong Chronicles is about the only thing really compelling I’ve seen from them (although, if I were a baseball fan, their MLB coverage…where not blacked out…would be enticing). I did enjoy their Euro 2004 soccer coverage but wish they hadn’t delayed it so long (I’d already seen most of the games on the InDemand PPV package).

    All of HDNet’s sports programming is wonderful and I’m particularly fond of the MLS and NHL coverage. Series like Odyssey 5 and Smallville make my favorites list. My son particularly enjoyed the Dallas “cartoon-themed” Christmas parade and the Irving Christmas Pops concert was a nice holiday treat.

    So when’s HDNet coming to Voom so I can drop my TimeWarner subscription?

    Comment by Jarrett Campbell -

  19. HDNET rules!! I finally got on the HDTV bandwagon this summer. Currently here in Houston, we get both INHDs, both HDNETs, Discovery, PBS, CBS, ABC, NBC, TNT, ESPN, and I get 2 HBOs. I estimate that we watch HDNETs 40 to 50% of the time. Why? Great content. Excellent movies and original programming (except for Eye for Eye) and a fantastic selection of second run programs from other networks. Meanwhile, INHD repeats the same old crap over and over, and very little of it is original.

    Thanks for the great channels, Mark, and keep up the good work.

    Comment by Tom Milner -

  20. Just wanted to say as a customer that I appreciate HDNet’s commitment to it’s customers. The Race of Champions in Paris was a spectacular addition to the lineup. That is that way racing should look and to see all the stars from different series from around the world go head to head was a thrill! Thanks.

    Comment by Jordan R -

  21. And the Verdict is…
    Thumbs.. sideways…..

    The point is really mute until you get onto Comcast. I used to watch HDNet on The Dish. But.. the Dish was so poorly executed customer service wise.. i gladly chuncked them my “200.00” deposit.. and got rid of that piece of junk.
    that being said. I remember the hockey games were really cool.. although i dont enjoy hocky. and even in HD good luck keeping up with that puck. lol. Overal, I think all the channels you mentioned have alot of room to grow… ALTHOUGH WATCHING BASEBALL ON INHD is awesome… but they still have alot of room to grow..
    Programming on Both is horrible… and i dont recommend HDNET or INHD. I would say
    A. stay with the Movies HD’s.. HBO, Skinamax, Showtime, and Stars.. also local HD broadcast..
    thats where the consumer gets the “most for their money”….

    at least those are my opinions..
    From my Mitsubishi 55” Widescreen HD to yours…

    Mike

    Comment by Mike Verinder -

  22. How the hell do we get HDnet? I live in a Comcast area (so I get InHD), but I would like even more HD offerings. I doubt Comcast would just voluntarily provide HDnet, so how does someone in my situation get HDnet? Voom?

    Comment by Paul Levine -

  23. Mark,

    How could you overlook “Brain Game” on inhd. This is a high definition high school quiz show that I get to pay $10 extra a month for. Are you kidding me? I surely hope this kind of stuff is not representative of all that I see and hear about the world of HDTV.

    Comment by Jack -

  24. Is the equipment/production cost of producing HD content much higher than standard digital?

    Is there an opportunity in giving film students access to HD equipment, and getting some fresh and interesting new content.

    Comment by TommyA -

  25. Mr. Cuban,

    Please read post #53 under privatized Social Security…I have the solution…just need you…

    Comment by josh einzig -

  26. It’s good to hear these numbers. And being an early adoptor of HDTV, HDNet has been a wonderful channel to have these last few years.

    The original content you produce is terrific, especially love Firestone’s show and Higher Definition. Wilonsky rules! Sure wish you would re-run the Heather Graham episode though!

    Comment by Doug Barnum -

  27. Any chance of broadcasting HDTV in the UK in 2005? BskyB are our satellite provider over here (about 90% of the market) and forbes shows you can buy sports rights for overseas distribution very cheaply.

    http://www.forbes.com/business/global/2004/1220/082.html

    How about buying the rights to some HDTV NBA/NFL games for the Euro market, but do me a favour, keep Steven A Smith on your side of the pond😉

    Comment by Adam -

  28. It seems that competing on reruns is a losing propostition. If I want any amount of reruns, why go to HDTV? On the other hand, I moved to DVD in part because of convenience (no rewinds, easy scene selection, etc.) and quality of picture. With HDTV I think it would be the same. So why not program based on HDTV’s strength? Make use of expanded camera angles (sports, epics movies, IMAX features, etc). I’m often amazed (and annoyed) at the amount of DVD pablum I’ll sit through because the picture is so good – perhaps something like that on HDTV would improve market share without endless reruns.

    Comment by David Pankhurst -

  29. As a Dish Network customer, I can certainly say that HDNet (and HDNet movies) are nice additions to the lineup. Congrats on keeping the lineup [more] fresh, especially with the NHL lockout leaving a gaping hole on your programming (I always enjoyed how nice hockey looks in HD). Also, congrats on backing your rebuttal with numbers – numbers don’t lie. Keep it up – in particular, make sure you lock down content that will keep me coming back when there are 10, 20, 50 HD channels. No idea why they would even start this battle? Are they trying to dislodge HDNet from the satellite market? Otherwise, you don’t even go head to head from the viewers’ perspective.

    Comment by Rob Kischuk -

  30. i am not a high-tech guy but i do watch quite a bit of tv and read the news and i’ve never even heard of inHD before this blog. sounds like they don’t have their act together.

    Comment by Omar S -

  31. Great job with HDNet. It’s no wonder why you are so successful. I may have to sign up for DirectTV or the Dish Network to watch.

    Dean Roberts
    Systems Manager/MBA Student

    Comment by Dean Roberts -

  32. I hear you, but disagree that you are the only channels exclusive to HDTV. There’s a great PBSHD and also Discovery Theater HD which only show programs in HD – not generally converted, but designed and produced for HD.

    BTW – I live in NYC, with Time Warner Cable and we had a month free of the newly expanded HD channels which included your two plus the INHDs… ESPN HD was also in there, but they cheated and only used HD for special bigger events, instead choosing to display vertical bars with their logo the other times.

    I enjoyed what you guys were/are doing while I watched it, but decided not to extend my free trial to the pay package. I just did not see enough stuff that made me want to tune in often enough… I love HD, but the content has to be more than just a pretty picture.

    Comment by Jonathan Greene -

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