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E! Gives Comcast a VOD Promotional Assist

E! Entertainment Television is using its access to Hollywood to help Comcast Corp. educate consumers about video-on-demand — and to sell the various products on that platform.

Starting later this month, Comcast will launch a 20-minute, E!-supplied newsmagazine program within a video window on its VOD guide screen in Philadelphia.

Using E! on-air personalities, E! Presents Comcast On Demand will showcase VOD content and educate consumers about how to use the product.

"This is one of those excellent marriages of strengths of two companies," said E! senior vice president of marketing and brand director Gavin Harvey.

The program "will put timely information at our customers' fingertips," said Comcast vice president of marketing, new video products Page Thompson. "We're continuously improving the VOD product for our customers. This is the next evolution."

Harvey said E! is in perfect position to provide a marketing push for VOD.

"We've got the tapes, the interviews, the production facilities and we have people who know how to make these kinds of shows," he said. "It's a great opportunity to leverage our resources and expertise and relationship with studios."

Comcast had been producing such a program in-house, said Thompson, but the move to E! was a natural. "They are the entertainment experts."

E! divides the 20-minute package into one-minute modules, hosted by various E! personalities, including Jules Asner. The modules range from previews of current or upcoming hit movies, to discussions on how to find and order VOD to capsule reports about the SVOD and free on-demand content carried by Comcast.

"We're making sure that in every loop, we hit all the key things," Harvey said.

Although there is a natural connection between Comcast-controlled E! and the MSO, the network has ventured into this area in the past. Years ago, it developed similar promotional programming for pay-per-view.

"We talk to the marketing team at Comcast on a regular basis to figure out ways work together and how to combine core competencies," Harvey said.

Harvey also spent time at pay-per-view content provider In Demand LLC a few years back, "so I know how important VOD is to the MSOs and studios. It's a critically important future business and the marketing side will increase in importance."

The promotional program will be refreshed each week, according to Harvey.

"It's done like a magazine show," he said, with information repeated so viewers who may be just passing by can get a sense of what's available very quickly.

"If we get them for five to 10 minutes, that's fantastic," he said.