Friday, July 10, 2009

Starz To Join Comcast's On-Demand Online Test

Comcast has come up with its own strategy to keep its customers happy in a multiplatform world. Partnering with cable programmers like Starz to allow viewing of content on different screens. "Starz Entertainment is in the mix for Comcast's On-Demand Online test, set to launch this month, with the premium programmer planning to initially make 300 movies and other original programming available through and to Starz subscribers for no additional charge." Starz joins other programmers like TNT, AMC, and Scripps to bring VOD like content to the PC.

It certainly provides additive value to the cable subscription. My biggest question is how do I watch when I am "on the road". Certainly I would rather watch these shows and movies on my big TV screen so having the choice to watch on a PC inside my house does little to whet my appetite. The ability to take my subscription on the go, whether on vacation or even in the office is much more appealing. How Comcast can authenticate me as a subscriber outside their wired garden will deem whether this strategy succeeds or fails. "Comcast will randomly select the 5,000 customers from across the U.S. in the coming weeks, with a focus on testing the company's authentication technology. The service will use a log-on system for streaming content and, in the future, will allow for download content to go." We will have to wait and see how well this works.

Should it prove successful, it could do what Hulu and cannot; keep cable subscribers from dropping their service to become a broadband only home.

Will Project Canoe Succeed or Fail

Came across this opinion and thought it was worth sharing. According to Phil Leigh, Senior Analyst at Inside Digital Media, Project Canoe is doomed for failure.

He argues that the web is better suited for interactive video and cable is late to the game. he also suggests that cable programmers are less than thrilled to support the cable operator's attempt at targeted advertising, as it potentially could hurt their own advertising sales activities. It is ultimately up to Project Canoe to disprove their critics.

Cable programmers have enjoyed a healthy license fee from cable operators and would be hard pressed to pursue a web based distribution strategy and risk the loss of "cable dollars for digital pennies." The cable financial model requires a two tier revenue strategy of subscription and advertising. As long as that remains healthy, programming will mainly be served through the cable box.