Comcast Loads Up on VOD

Comcast will increase by sixfold the number of free video-on-demand movies it offers digital cable subscribers under a new deal with Starz Encore Group.

Starz will  give Comcast Access to 1,500 titles per year to fuel its massive VOD giveaway.

Under the deal, which will extend Starz encore's relationship with Comcast for another decade, all Comcast digital customers will receive 250 free Encore movies each month. That's in addition to the 50 free VOD movies from the Sony library and around 200 movies tied to premium movie networks like HBO.

The increased offerings are a tactical move to lure new digital subs and give existing subs reason to stay on board and not to defect to satellite providers.

Comcast, which has offered its “ON DEMAND” service for just over two years, currently offers Starz subs 75 on-demand titles and will continue to do so under the new deal. The cable company expects to add around 50 movies from MGM’s library in the future as well.

Comcast will also create an additional digital cable package to add to the two it has now.

The third package, which Comcast is calling a “gateway to VOD,” will likely be smaller than the existing two and, as part of the deal with SEG, will feature 100 of the 250 Encore movies as part of its VOD content.

The deal, which Comcast COO Steve Burke calls “the most important movie deal Comcast has ever done,” renews Comcasts’ affiliation agreement with Starz for at least the next 10 years, if all options are exercised. Comcast will also add on its systems two new digital movie channels Starz is currently developing. Comcast is the country’s biggest cable operator with 21.5 million cable customers, 8.8 million of them digital. Starz Entertainment Group LLC is the country’s largest provider of premium movie services. It is owned by Liberty Media Corporation.