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Comcast Nears 'TV Everywhere' Launch

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) plans to launch its TV Everywhere service, named On Demand Online, nationally in the next 30 to 60 days.

So says Comcast Corp. COO and cable division president Steve Burke, who spoke earlier today at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment confab.

Comcast is conducting a technology trial with 5,000 customers, and the MSO appears fairly happy with the early results of an authentication system included in the new Web TV offering. So far, 24 networks have signed on to the project. (See Time Warner, Comcast Team Up for TV Everywhere.)

As in the early days of cable video-on-demand (VoD), Comcast will have to make sure programmers and entertainment companies feel comfortable that the premium content they offer up for TV Everywhere won't be stolen, Burke said.

He also reiterated that TV Everywhere aims to help MSOs and programmers preserve their respective business models, which rely on a combination of subscriptions and advertising dollars.

"We have the exact same interests that the content providers have in making sure that we get ahead of the steamroller that is the Internet," Burke said. "So many other businesses in the media space... didn't get ahead of it. Whether it is music or newspapers or radio, [they] didn't have a model that protected their core business, and then, boom, here comes the Internet as this destroyer of wealth."

A Comcast spokeswoman couldn't specify a launch date for the national rollout, but confirmed that the plan is to introduce On Demand Online commercially by the end of the year. (It's like Burke's prediction, but with more wiggle room.) Likewise, Comcast still isn't prepared to offer all the details on what the large-scale version of the service will look like.

Among other major MSOs, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is also starting off with a 5,000-customer technology trial for its version of TV Everywhere but has not indicated when it intends to expand on that. More details may emerge Thursday morning when TWC CEO Glenn Britt speaks at the same Merrill Lynch conference. (See TV Everywhere Spreads and Gaedtke Jumps From Joost, Joins TW Cable .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2009, the telecom industry’s premier event for the exploration of a comprehensive entertainment convergence strategy, to be staged in Orlando, Fla., November 10-12. For more information, or to register, click here.

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