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Comcast, PBS Double Down on VOD

Comcast and PBS announced a new distribution deal this week that enables the cable operator to more than double the amount of PBS programming that will be available on its set-top box video-on-demand platform, as well as via Comcast’s authenticated Xfinity TV Go  apps and Web site.

The deal, which covers “recently-aired episodes” from more than 50 PBS series, will include primetime shows such as American Experience, American Masters, Antiques Roadshow, Call The Midwife, Frontline, Nova, and Masterpiece titles that include Downton Abbey (pictured), Wolf Hall, Mr. Selfridge, Grantchester and Poldark.

The agreement also calls for Comcast to provide local PBS member stations with “enhanced branding” on the Xfinity On Demand menu.

“We are pleased that this new agreement recognizes public television’s unique structure and gives prominent branding to local member stations as the source of PBS content in their respective markets,” said Ira Rubenstein, SVP and GM for PBS Digital, in a statement.

 “Comcast and PBS have a longstanding relationship built around a commitment to providing the viewers we both serve with access to the content they want across devices,” added Franz Kurath, vice president, content acquisition, Comcast Cable. “Xfinity On Demand and Xfinity TV Go are go-to sources for customers who want to catch up and stay current on their favorite TV shows, and the addition of PBS’ original programming brings even more high-quality, award-winning programming to the platforms.”

Elsewhere in VOD-land, Comcast this week kicked off its sponsorship of Taylor Swift’s The 1989 Tour, noting that it will offer a series of behind-the-scenes videos and other content via Xfinity on Demand.  Comcast said that content can be found under the “Music” category in its VOD menu or by saying “Taylor Swift” in to its new voice-enabled remote for the X1 platform. Content that’s part of the sponsorship will also be featured on Xfinity TV Go.