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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 13, 2013

Prospective LodgeNet Acquisition and DTV Partnership to Augment Hospitality-Based TV

By Mini Swamy, TMCnet Contributor

LodgeNet, a provider of interactive media and connectivity services to hospitality and healthcare businesses, is set to be acquired by private equity firm, Colony Capital, in less than a month. But in the meantime, it has chosen to materially enhance its own value by entering into an expanded partnership with DIRECTV (DTV).

DTV is regarded as a premium provider of digital television services, and LodgeNet is a source of interactive media and connectivity services to the hospitality and healthcare businesses. Hence, the LodgeNet-DTV partnership will provide all future customers with upgraded products and services with the option to upgrade to HDTV service at affordable rates.

"This partnership provides yet another opportunity to build a phenomenal experience reflective of the DIRECTV brand,” noted Paul Guyardo, chief revenue and marketing officer for DIRECTV.

Hotels and hospitals will be offered new a la carte programming options and other exclusive DTV content. In addition, the partners are expected to work toward building an industry-leading open architecture technology platform that augurs a superior guest experience for today’s technology-savvy travelers.

As a result of all this, LodgeNet customers will experience a new user interface that is more consistent with that offered by DTV to its residential customers, who will also enjoy an expanded level of support comparable with services offered by DTV to its nationwide consumers.

"These enhancements will help reestablish hospitality-based TV as the preeminent viewing experience, a distinction it held when the company first introduced pay-per-view and video-on-demand to the marketplace over 20 years ago," observed Richard Nanula, a principal with Colony Capital.

The expanded LodgeNet-DTV relationship, however, will materialize only on completion of Colony's acquisition of LodgeNet. Also, LodgeNet has to emerge from a pre-packaged restructuring process. This is expected to happen toward the end of March 2013.

Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, which invests in U.S. real estate, is expected to become the company’s controlling shareholder.

Guyardo is looking forward to working with LodgeNet and Colony to create an in-room video experience that is expected to set DIRECTV apart from its competitors, and help grow the company’s commercial business.

Edited by Braden Becker

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