We're still not sure if the On Demand Online / TV Everywhere project will end up being a good proposition for viewers, but now Starz has announced plans to join in. Comcast Starz subcribers will be able to stream series like Party Down and Head case, along with the usual suite of Starz flicks, with new content coming online as soon as it is available on the standard VOD service, before they show up on the linear channels via Comcast.com and Fancast.com. The best news? While it's SD only to start, HD versions are promised "in the coming months." Starz president Bill Myers says its goal is to allow customers access to their content whenever and wherever they want, and with deals like this and Netflix, the company is living up to it. Check the full press release after the break.
STARZ ENTERTAINMENT TO JOIN COMCAST'S ON DEMAND ONLINE TRIAL
Adds 300 Movies and Original Programming with More to Come, Including HD; Available Online at No Additional Charge to Starz Subscribers
Englewood, CO, and Philadelphia, PA – July 9, 2009 – Starz Entertainment, LLC, which operates 16 premium movie channels including the flagship Starz and Encore brands, and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced that selections from the programmer's vast lineup of premium content will be available online to Comcast Starz subscribers as part of Comcast's On Demand Online trial. On Demand Online is a new service that will significantly expand the number of top-rated TV choices available online at no additional charge to cable customers. The trial will initially make 300 movies and other original programming available to Starz subscribers in standard definition, with HD versions and more content added in coming months.
Comcast's Starz subscribers participating in the trial will have online access to a wide array of programming including:
- Contemporary feature films such as Hancock, Vantage Point, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Wall-E, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Step Brothers, National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pineapple Express, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, Righteous Kill, No Country for Old Men and Enchanted.
- Starz original series including "Crash", "Head Case", and "Party Down".
"At Starz our goal is to allow subscribers to watch our programming whenever and wherever they want," said Starz Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Myers. "We are delighted to join with Comcast in this trial of Comcast On Demand Online. Comcast, with its existing base of millions of Starz subscribers, robust plant and strong commitment to on demand will be a terrific partner to help explore the new world of Internet video distribution."
"Starz Entertainment brings some of the most popular contemporary feature films to television and we are pleased to partner with them to bring their exclusive content online to consumers for the first time ever at no additional charge to our existing Starz customers," said Matt Bond, Executive Vice President of Content Acquisition for Comcast. "The addition of Starz premium content to On Demand Online's quickly growing line-up demonstrates the programming industry's desire to meet consumers' increasing demand for content online."
Starz' participation in Comcast's technical trial comes on the heels of last month's joint announcement between Time Warner Inc. and Comcast which introduced a set of principles called "TV Everywhere." Developed by the two companies, the principles are designed to serve as a framework to facilitate deployment of online television content across the industry in a way that is consumer friendly, pro-competitive and at no additional cost to subscribers.
Comcast will begin its technical trial of On Demand Online with approximately 5,000 customers from across the U.S. in the coming weeks – the first national trial of its kind. A major focus of the trial is to test the Company's new "authentication" technology, which will allow customers to receive the same content online for free that they subscribe to on TV. The service will utilize a simple log-on system for streaming content and, in the future, will allow for download content to go. The On Demand Online service will roll-out in phases, adding new features, functionality and content over time to provide consumers with a new way to watch television.
On Demand Online is part of Comcast's Project Infinity, the company's long-term vision to give customers an ever growing amount of video content on multiple platforms, whenever they want.