Comcast Launches Politics on-Demand

Starting Tuesday and extending through election eve, Comcast Corp. video-on-demand subscribers in Colorado will be able to manipulate the political process for their own selfish ends, those ends being to learn about the people and policies that will shape their state and nation.

Candidates On Demand (COD) will offer the two senatorial candidates, Republican Pete Coors and Democrat Ken Salazar, three minutes each to talk about topics including "education, health care, the economy, Social Security and homeland security." With only three minutes, it may have to be the "Coors Light" of policy position papers.

Here's where the manipulation part comes in.VOD subs will then be able to pause, stop, rewind and fast forward through those responses and watch them as often as they want, anytime they want.

Comparing it to the sound bites candidates usually speak in, Comcast is billing it as an opportunity to get "in-depth information about the candidates' position on important issues." At three minutes, though, it may have to be the "Coors Light" of policy outlines if a candidate tries to cover too many topics.

In addition to making Candidates On Demand available to its 215,000 customers, Comcast will also make it available to Bresnan Communications and its 11,000 VOD subs in Colorado.

Comcast is treating it as a pilot project that could be rolled out elsewhere in future elections.

The nation's top cable MSO will promote the effort on its broadband portal, In addition, Comcast will run PSA's about Candidates On Demand and both Comcast and Bresnan will run excerpts from the candidates statements at the end of Headline News segments in their Colorado systems.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.