Following Starz, HBO has announced plans to provide programming on Comcast's On Demand Online trial. Of course, this move shouldn't surprise anyone given previous hints HBO was looking for ways to brings its video online or previous trials it has participated in. Just like Starz, users can expect a mix of television shows and movies, basically reflecting the current on demand lineup, including series like True Blood and Entourage, further detailed in the press release after the break. Also like Starz, following the launch, HD streaming is expected -- clearly premium channel subscribers have the most reasons to be interested in being included in the 5,000 customer nationwide trial Comcast is launching in the coming weeks, but what about the basic cable only folks?
HOME BOX OFFICE AND COMCAST TO LAUNCH HBO® AND CINEMAX® ON BROADBAND FOR THE FIRST TIME NATIONALLY THROUGH ON DEMAND ONLINE
The HBO and Cinemax Broadband Services, Featuring Award-Winning Original Programming, Theatrical Films and More, To Be Made Available For Free to Comcast's HBO and Cinemax Subscribers
New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA, July 13, 2009 – Home Box Office, Inc. and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced a partnership that will offer award-winning television and movie content from HBO and Cinemax online for the first time as an added value to Comcast's HBO and Cinemax customers nationwide. The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will be available as part of Comcast's On Demand Online trial, accessible via Comcast.net and Fancast.com. On Demand Online is a new service that will significantly expand the number of top-rated TV choices available online to Comcast cable customers free of charge.
The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will initially provide a combined total of 750 hours a month of programming and will grow over time. HBO and Cinemax will greatly enhance On Demand Online's line-up which already includes hit programming from and Time Warner Inc.'s Turner networks TNT and TBS, as well as Starz.
At launch, the HBO and Cinemax broadband services on Comcast's On Demand Online will include:
* Full-length episodes of current and classic HBO series like True Blood®, HungSM, Entourage®, Curb Your Enthusiasm®, The Wire®, Sex and the City®, The Sopranos® and Real Time with Bill Maher.
* Popular theatrical movies including Transformers, The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder, Atonement, Brokeback Mountain, Michael Clayton, Shrek the Third, Kung Fu Panda, Get Smart, The Bourne Ultimatum, The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Titles coming soon include: Juno, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears A Who, Mama Mia! and Burn After Reading.
* Top classic films such as Jurassic Park, Big, Mrs. Doubtfire, Speed and Rosemary's Baby.
* HBO Family programming including enduring favorites like Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Following the launch, HBO and Cinemax programming will be updated frequently, with subscribers able to choose from a number of programs in HD including HBO Films, series, documentaries, sports, specials and comedy as well as theatrical films. Customers will be able to view certain new programs online immediately after they air on television and will have access to an extensive library of past programming.
"On the heels of the TV Everywhere agreement between Time Warner and Comcast, we're pleased to be partnering with Comcast to deliver our HBO and Cinemax broadband services on a national level," said Eric Kessler, HBO Co-President. "The broadband services are the latest in a line of digital offerings that have dramatically changed the viewing experience for our subscribers, providing them with more access, choice, and even greater value to their subscriptions."
"HBO is an iconic brand with award winning original programming and exclusive feature films and we are thrilled they are joining us in our mission to make our services available online to our customers," said Matt Bond, Executive Vice President of Content Acquisition for Comcast. "For the first time HBO and Cinemax customers around the country will be able to watch their favorite shows and movies online at no additional cost. This agreement is an important milestone in our long-term strategy of enabling customers to watch popular television and movie content when and where they want it."
In a joint announcement last month, Time Warner Inc. and Comcast 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 in a way that is consumer friendly, pro-competitive and at no additional cost to customers.
The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will be part of Comcast's 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 Comcast's new "authentication" technology, which will allow Comcast 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.