Its Xfinity TV On Demand service on 4/28 will add primetime series from Fox and ABC to its VOD service, becoming the first pay television provider to offer episodes of current programs from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. It’s an indication that consumers aren’t dependent anymore on primetime TV schedules that have long dictated how TV viewers through the decades spent their evenings. Consumers instead have embraced DVRs and services like Hulu, Netflix and Apple’s iTunes so they can watch shows on their own schedule.
The nation’s largest television provider will offer its 20 million customers episodes of ABC’s “Castle,” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Fox’s programs including “Glee,” “Bones,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Family Guy” the day after the episodes aired on the networks.
Comcast’s amped-up VOD service is designed to get an edge on satellite TV, phone company competitors, Netflix and Hulu, which offers current episodes from three of the four networks. CBS does not supply its programming to Hulu. (Comcast also owns a minority interest in Hulu).
CBS has offered episodes of its shows to Comcast’s VOD service since 2006. Comcast recently added NBC programming. Comcast owns 51% of NBCUniversal.
“This makes us different from any of our competitors,” Marcien Jenckes, Comcast’s general manager of video services, told the LA Times. “People are still watching the majority of TV on the TV. This points to the growth and the potential of our video-on-demand service.”
Xfinity TV On Demand will have 32 of the top 50 network primetime programs, Jenckes said. The networks will offer the four most recent episodes from those series to the on-demand service, allowing viewers to catch up on episodes they might have missed.
There is no additional cost to subscribers, Jenckes said. Comcast allows the networks to set the number of commercials contained in their episodes, and keep the ad revenue.