Venturing further into the over-the-top (OTT) video business, Comcast will start offering past CBS shows on Streampix, the cable company's over-the-top subscription VoD service. (See Comcast Goes OTT to Target Netflix, Hulu Plus.)
Past seasons of both The Good Wife and Charmed will now be available to Streampix subscribers. Further, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) says it will add new episodes of current primetime CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) shows to its traditional on-demand library and the Xfinity.com/TV website. These shows include 2 Broke Girls, Person of Interest, and The Mentalist, as well as two new series, The Crazy Ones and Mom.
The Comcast deal with CBS comes on the heels of a very public, nasty fight between the network and the number-two US MSO, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). CBS is looking for higher licensing fees from pay-TV distributors, and the increase it demanded from TWC led to a month-long content blackout for the cable company's subscribers. (See TWC, CBS End Their Feud.)
In contrast to the Time Warner/CBS fight, the negotiations between Comcast and the broadcast network appear to have gone much more smoothly. Not only did the two companies agree to terms for standard VoD distribution, but also for retransmission through Comcast's new OTT service. Comcast bundles Streampix with some of its TV packages, but otherwise charges customers $4.99 per month for access.
While Comcast faces rising programming costs along with the rest of the nation's pay-TV operators, the company has much to gain in the retransmission wars as well. As owner of NBC Universal , Comcast has made clear its intentions to raise retrans fees going forward.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable