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Comcast Buys thePlatform

Comcast acquired thePlatform, a Seattle-based media-publishing-delivery firm that was already a supplier, to help in its efforts to expand distribution of video services over the Internet.

The MSO wouldn’t comment on the price, which PaidContent.org (paidcontent.org) said was $80 million-$100 million.

thePlatform already provides key management software for “The Fan,” a multimedia player that gives Comcast high-speed-Internet customers access to a range of video content from deals the operator reached with Disney, Fox Sports and other providers.

thePlatform will operate as a stand-alone subsidiary of Comcast Interactive Media, the unit created in December to develop and acquire content for Comcast services that could run on multiple platforms, including the Web and mobile-media platforms.

The company will continue to work with other media-company customers, including ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Amp’d Mobile and Starz Entertainment Group (for its Vongo broadband-video-download service). Founded in 2000, thePlatform has about 70 employees, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

“With its best-in-class technology and top-tier customer base, thePlatform has clearly carved a leadership position in enabling the management and distribution of digital media,” Sam Schwartz, executive vice president of strategy and development for Comcast Interactive Media, said in a prepared statement from Comcast.

“We will fully support thePlatform in serving and expanding its growing customer base, as well as working with them to deliver the best integrated video-rich experience to our customers,” he added.

It’s been reported widely, including in Multichannel News June 5, that Comcast has been exploring ways to use the Internet to deliver video programming to customers anywhere in the country.

The move, if pursued, would mean that the nation’s largest cable operator would be marketing TV-like services to households served by other cable companies.