Comcast Eyes Premium VOD Releases 6-8 Weeks After Theatrical Launch

An executive from the largest U.S. cable operator says the company is still mulling details though, including pricing and when to launch.

NEW YORK -- Comcast Corp. is in talks with movie studios to show films in a premium VOD window six to eight weeks after their theatrical release, Marcien Jenckes, Comcast’s senior vp and general manager of video services, tells Bloomberg.

The Philadelphia-based company, the largest cable operator in the U.S., was known to be eyeing premium VOD, but the industry has been wondering about the conditions it was mulling for such offerings.

Availability six weeks after theatrical releases would likely draw a strong reaction from exhibitor trade group NATO, but a spokeswoman emphasized that no decision on windowing has been made.

DirecTV last week became the first pay TV provider to launch select movies on premium VOD for $29.99 about 60 days after their theatrical launch.

Comcast hasn’t decided when to launch the service or how much to charge for premium VOD and wants to make studios comfortable with the shorter window, Jenckes said.

Jenckes signaled that Comcast may experiment with different prices for different films and regions.

Comcast currently offers some independent films on a day-and-date basis with their theatrical release. It said indie fare gets more than 200,000 on-demand views each month.