Tech Briefs: Comcast Pushes VOD Promotion for Networks’ Linear Shows

Dec 13, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Comcast said it has begun talking to programmers about providing promotional opportunities for their linear shows on its video-on-demand platform. The initiative follows some of its current VOD partnerships with programmers, such as the on-demand airing of Noggin’s holiday movie “Franklin’s Magic Christmas,” running from Nov. 29 through Dec. 13, the day of its linear premiere, as well as the showing of episodes from TBS’s “The Real Gilligan’s Island” on-demand just a few days after their linear premieres.

“One big trend we are seeing in on-demand to date is a lot more networks are using on-demand as a promotional vehicle for their networks,” said Page Thompson, Comcast’s VP of marketing for new video products. Comcast in turn is promoting many of those shows through cross-channel marketing, its VOD barker channel and direct mail.

Mr. Thompson said Comcast has conducted studies indicating that on-demand viewing is incremental and does not cannibalize core linear viewing. In fact, if the on-demand platform is used to promote linear shows, it stands to reason that linear ratings could increase, he said. That’s helped in convincing networks to provide content earlier for the on-demand platform, he added. “Now we are talking about networks giving us their content a week or two after they air or before they air. That’s a change from three to six months ago,” he said.

Comcast expects to reach 80 percent of its footprint with on-demand service by year-end.

Cablevision Rolls Out DVR Service to Its Digital Customers

Cablevision rolled out digital video recorder service last month to all of its 1.3 million digital cable customers. The multiple system operator said it expects to begin marketing the service early next year.

Cablevision joins the other major MSOs that have already deployed DVR service. Comcast offers DVRs to about 72 percent of its customers now and expects to make them available in all markets by year-end. At the end of the third quarter, Comcast reported that it had 870,000 set-top boxes in customers’ homes that offer HDTV and/or DVR service.

Time Warner offers DVR service in all its markets. Adelphia is rolling out DVR service but has not released numbers or projections. Charter had introduced DVR service to 33 systems by the end of the third quarter, representing 1.4 million homes passed.

Cox said it expects to reach more than 95 percent of its markets, or 24 of 25 markets, with DVR service by year-end.