Orange to launch 'Welles' VOD website by year-end

Orange France is preparing to launch a new website offering domestic Internet users access to 'mid-tail' recently-archived TV programmes, according to news portal Variety, citing Jean-Louis Constanza, chief executive of the telco's new subsidiary Orange Vallée, which has been set up to help the telco target new growth markets.

Mr. Constanza is quoted as saying that the new site will offer advertising-supported streaming of older TV shows and some movies, as well as consumer-generated and social networking features, adding: "The model in some ways is more Netflix than Hulu. We're not looking at showing [new shows such as] 'Heroes' or 'Lost'." Orange France will call the new website 'Welles' (after Orson Welles) and will launch by the end of this year, according to the reports.

The reports reflect Orange's stated intention to follow a three-screens approach across TV, PC and mobile, and echo indications by François Seligmann, Director of IPTV & New Products at Orange France, who told IPTV News earlier this year: "Our logic is already hybrid. When we propose our VOD on PC offer, we propose it in all households with an Internet subscription, and not only to Orange customers."

Orange France had reached 2.166mn subscribers for its pay-TV services (delivered via IPTV, satellite and mobile) in France by the end of the first quarter of this year, up 69% from March 2008.