Comcast to Start Selling Movies, TV Episodes (Reports)
Comcast is planning to start selling movies and episodes of TV shows through its video-on-demand service, according to reports.
The cable company will offer both newly released and older movies as well as TV episodes from previous seasons through its VOD menu, which previously only offered titles to rent. Subscribers will be able to purchase titles from their cable box or a website and store them in the cloud, enabling them to watch that content on a TV, computer or tablet.
The new service is expected to launch in limited form by the end of the year and will be available to customers selecting its digital service, or roughly 20 million households, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Those subscribers initially will be able to select from a few hundred titles but is expected to increase quickly over time, according to the Associated Press. New releases will likely cost $10 to $20 each, the AP adds.
It's possible that those titles will include new-release films made available a few weeks before DVD and Blu-ray versions go on sale, a strategy that 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. have adopted. Comcast is working with all of the major studios, Bloomberg reported.
The company is the country's biggest pay TV provider, with 22 million video subscribers. It also owns NBCUniversal and its movie studio Universal Pictures. Studios are hoping that Comcast's service, which has been in development for more than a year, will lead other pay TV providers to follow suit and boost electronic sales of movies, helping to offset declines in DVD sales.
Currently Verizon, which has roughly five million subscribers through its FiOS service, is the only other pay TV company selling movies digitally. Dish Network is considering a similar offering, The Journal reported.
"We have been pushing them very hard to do this," a senior executive at one Hollywood studio told The Journal of Comcast's plans. Comcast was ranked No. 1 in the $1.3 billion pay TV VOD market in 2012, according to the NPD Group, with 28 percent of the market, The Journal noted.
Comcast has not yet responded to The Hollywood Reporter's request for comment.