Comsat Entertainment to serve midprice hotels


Comsat Entertainment Group, the nation's largest provider of movies to luxury hotel rooms, has decided to check in to a less pricey market as well.

The subsidiary of Bethesda-based Comsat Corp. announced yesterday at a hotel industry convention in New Orleans that its On Command Video unit will introduce a new service called Video On Call to serve mid-priced hotel chains.

Like On Command, the Video On Call service to in-room televisions will be provided from a bank of videocassette recorders on the hotel premises, Comsat Entertainment spokesman Paul E. Jacobson said.

But he said it will not offer some of On Command's advanced interactive services, such as room service ordering or checkout via the TV screen.

The service will be available to hotels with more than 100 rooms.

Until now, Comsat had concentrated its marketing on such top-tier hotel chains as Marriott, Hilton, Westin and Adam's Mark. The new service will be aimed at such chains as Hampton Inns, La Quinta, Days Inn and EconoLodge, Mr. Jacobson said.

On Command Video, which serves an estimated 421,000 rooms, announced yesterday that it would add almost 50,000 rooms with three new deals.

The company said it would add 38,000 through contracts with the Wyndham and DoubleTree hotel chains. The DoubleTree contract also includes its Guest Quarter Suite hotels.

On Command also made a breakthrough in the European market as it announced a contract with Grupo Sol Melia, Spain's largest hotel chain, with 175 properties worldwide.

Mr. Jacobson said that deal will add 10,000 rooms, most of them at the Madrid-based chain's hotels in Spain and Portugal.

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