"Comcast is fast becoming a powerful challenger to Apple and Amazon when it comes to selling downloaded movies and TV shows — the long-awaited replacement for DVDs and Blu-ray discs known in the industry as electronic sell through (or EST)," Deadline.com reports. "And today’s deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will help, bringing movies including ‘American Hustle’ and ‘Captain Phillips’ and TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘House of Cards’ to the cable company’s offerings."
The piece notes that Comcast already has carriage deals in place with Fox, Lionsgate and Warner Bros., not to mention NBCUniversal, which Comcast owns. But it does not yet have arrangements with Disney, Paramount, DreamWorks Animation or MGM.
"Comcast doesn’t yet support UltraViolet, so consumers who buy movies or shows from it can’t access them from the entertainment industry’s cloud-based storage lockers," the report adds. "Comcast has its own infrastructure that makes it possible for buyers to access the content they buy, even if they move or stop subscribing to the cable video service. Last month, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said that since Comcast began offering EST in November it ‘has captured 15% of the EST market and expanded the business.’”
Feltheimer added that he expects other cable operators to follow suit, because “it’s been too successful for Comcast.”
The report notes that consumer spending on EST rose 44% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, to $424.8 million, based on figures from Digital Entertainment Group.