Video services

Comcast VOD: 3 Billion Served

A dozen years ago McDonald's stopped counting its "billions served" under the golden arches. Now Comcast is picking up the slack by reporting ongoing milestones in the number of video-on-demand (VOD) streams delivered to its digital cable subscribers.

Yesterday Comcast announced that it reached the 3-billion mark for cumulative VOD streams served since 2004. That's far better than Ronald McDonald. The clown needed eight years to sell his first billion burgers.

By the latest numbers, VOD usage is accelerating among Comcast customers. The MSO delivered 1 billion streams in the first 10 months of 2005. In the 10 months since then, Comcast served up nearly 50% more. The company said it set a monthly record this July with 180 million streams served.

So, what are the most popular dishes on the VOD menu? Out of its 3 billion streams, music videos and shows topped the list with 540 million views. Next on the list were children's shows with more than 330 million views. Then came free movies with 180 million views, followed by sports and fitness programs with 73 million.

Comcast says it now offers more than 7,500 programs in its VOD library. To help customers navigate through this plethora of VOD viewing choices, the MSO has launched an online program guide called TV Planner through its Comcast.net broadband web portal. The tool offers enhanced search capabilities for standard and high-definition VOD programs.

The majority of Comcast's VOD programs are available to digital cable customers for no additional charge, a move the MSO hopes will increasingly differentiate its service from broadcast satellite offerings.

-- Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News
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