Comcast, Jake Take On Fitness VOD

Comcast Corp. is beefing up its video-on-demand fitness offerings by partnering with exercise impresario Jake Steinfeld, who will create original content for the MSO’s on-demand platform.

Steinfeld will serve as chairman of Exercise TV Productions, a new company Comcast is forming to produce fitness, sports-instruction and motivational programming for its VOD service.

Comcast and Steinfeld -- founder of Body by Jake Global -- are also conducting a national hunt for “the next generation” of fitness stars, who will get shows on the MSO’s VOD platform. Exercise TV will act as a talent scout and management agency for those fitness celebrities-in-the-making.

The new original programming being created by Steinfeld is slated to debut on Comcast Fitness On Demand later this year. The fitness VOD offering -- which Comcast added to its on-demand lineup late last year -- will be rebranded as Exercise TV, according to Matt Strauss, Comcast’s vice president of VOD-content development.

Comcast has acquired hundreds of hours of fitness programming in categories such as Pilates, yoga, cardio and quick workouts, and the operator offers 20 hours per month on VOD, refreshing 25% of it each week. But the MSO wants to pump up that fitness-VOD offering, which has a lot of female appeal, with original programming.

The fitness-VOD service has been a success, generating close to several million views every month, according to Strauss. (Comcast said the view number was “close to 2 million” in March.)

The goal is to ultimately make Comcast fitness on demand 100% original fare, according to Steinfeld.

Steinfeld is already talking with sponsors about developing original content and integrating advertising into that programming.

Comcast Fitness On Demand will also be engaged in electronic commerce by selling the latest exercise products, equipment and videos, according to Strauss.

For more on Comcast Fitness On Demand, please see Linda Moss’ story on page nine of Monday’s issue of Multichannel News.