After a one-day delay due to General Motors’ bankruptcy, CruiseCast, a back-seat subscription TV service from AT&T and RaySat Broadcasting made its official launch announcement late Tuesday (June 2).
The new satellite-delivered service targeting kids, teens, tweens and their parents—with family, general entertainment, sports, news and weather programming—offers 22 satellite TV and 20 satellite radio channels for a monthly subscription fee of $28. The price of the equipment, available nationwide through a network of authorized installers and aftermarket-car retail outlets, will set consumers back $1,299.
With the launch, CruiseCast also announced that it had signed a carriage agreement with Lifetime Television, which will be joining CruiseCast’s lineup of channels including well-known cable network brands such as USA Network, Sci Fi, Discovery, Animal Planet, CNN mobile, Adult Swim Mobile, NFL Network, MSNBC, Fox News, AccuWeather, ESPN Mobile, Disney, Disney XD, Discovery Kids, Cartoon Network Mobile and CBS College Sports Network.
While consumers may be cutting back, CruiseCast cited data from Frost & Sullivan that forecast rear seat entertainment systems will catch on, growing from 20 million to 65 million by 2017.
“The economy is the economy. We’re going to continue to create new products and services that will turn this economy around,” said Winston Guillory, Jr., president of RaySat Broadcasting. “There are also a lot of mobile professionals that might want to get caught up on the news. We also expect the long-haul trucker market will also enjoy the system. It’s a great value for consumers. We think people that have backseat entertainment systems have discretionary income.”
CruiseCast will be competing with Sirius’ Backseat TV, a less ambitious back-seat subscription TV service. While the satellite radio company only offers three channels of TV programming from Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network, it’s a lot cheaper than CruiseCast. It’s equipment cost $299.99 and the monthly fee is $6.99 on top of the Sirius radio subscription of $12.95.
But RSB’s Guillory isn’t concerned about Sirius Backseat TV. “We’re not technologically limited by channel capacity,” he said. AT&T CruiseCast also plans to improve its offerings, developing different lineups, maybe even a movie channel, to address a broader group of consumers.