Tech Briefs: Comcast Preps On-Demand Local Reality Shows

Aug 8, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Comcast’s Dating on Demand service has not only helped romance seekers scratch the love itch, it has also proved to be the blueprint for a new type of on-demand content: local reality shows. Based on the success of Dating on Demand, a video-on-demand service featuring videos of singles looking for dates, the cable operator expects to introduce more shows along the same lines in the next few months, said Matt Strauss, VP of content development at Comcast.

Dating on Demand has been available for about a year and Comcast offers a local version in eight markets, including Denver, Atlanta, Boston and Chicago. Nationally, the dating content generates about 2.5 million total VOD views per month.

“It taps into what’s going on in our culture today, where there’s a fascination with people being on TV,” Mr. Strauss said. “This is our first step into user-generated programming, which we will do more of with on-demand.

“As reality shows continue to develop on TV, we think the natural extension is to give anyone an outlet to be on TV,” he added.

For instance, Comcast is planning a national fitness talent search in which instructors submit videotapes and the top ones are shown on-demand. Users can vote online on their favorites, and the winner will receive a contract for a DVD and VOD line of exercise programs with Jake Steinfeld of Body by Jake.

Comcast also is migrating some of its Dating on Demand profiles online and considering developing a Dating on Demand application for cellphones.

NBCU Boosts Digital Media Group

NBC Universal beefed up its new digital media division last week with the news that Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, will also oversee content development for the TV group’s Internet and wireless platforms. The digital media group also appointed a strategic marketing executive and a content protection/anti-piracy executive. These changes reflect an expanded focus on digital media for NBC Universal. Deborah Reif is the president of NBC Universal Digital Media.

G4 Tackles Sex in Video Games

Techie network G4 has assembled an hour-long special to be televised Aug. 23 addressing the recent controversy over

sexually explicit content in video games.

The show, “Sex in Games,” was spurred by the revelation last month that popular video game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” contains sexually explicit content that can be unlocked with software available on the Internet. G4’s special will address the history of sexual content in video games and will be followed by a town hall forum addressing the topic.