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Comcast Bows Subscription Streaming Service

21 Feb, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

No. 1 cable operator seeking to retain and lure video subscribers with low-cost streaming option

Comcast  Corp. Feb. 21 said it launched a subscription video-on-demand service enabling subscribers to stream movies and TV shows via portable media devices, including Xbox 360 and Android-enabled devices.

Dubbed Xfinity Streampix, the new service compliments the No. 1 cable operator’s Xfinity TV platform featuring 75,000 movies and TV shows on demand.

Streampix will be included as part of Comcast’s Xfinity triple-play packages, Blast!+ and Blast! Extra video/high-speed Internet packages. It will also be offered as a standalone $4.99 monthly service with other less expensive video packages.

To guarantee Streampix content, Comcast entered into specific licensing agreements with Disney-ABC Television Group (no theatrical movies), NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution and Cookie Jar Entertainment.

TV programs include “30 Rock” (NBC); “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC); “Heroes” (NBC); “Lost” (ABC); “Married…with Children” (Sony); “The Office” (NBC); “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (ABC Family) and “Ugly Betty,” (ABC) among others.

Movies include Analyze That (Warner); Brokeback Mountain (Universal); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Sony); Ocean’s Eleven (Warner); Stuart Little (Sony); When Harry Met Sally (Warner); and The Big Lebowski (Universal), among others.

“Our goal is to consistently deliver greater value to our customers and to bring the best anytime, anywhere entertainment on multiple platforms,” said Marcien Jenckes, SVP and GM of video services. “Streampix is another step moving TV Everywhere forward by giving customers access to an even greater library of popular choices to watch.”

Facing increased competition from over-the-top services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, cable and satellite TV operators are rolling out SVOD platforms designed to retain and lure new customers with lower-tired pricing options.

Comcast lost 17,000 video subscribers in its most recent fiscal quarter (ended Dec. 31) and 460,000 video subs in 2011 compared to 2010.

Indeed, Streampix is similar in part to Dish Network’s $9.99 monthly Bockbuster Movie Pass — the latter offering select streaming titles in addtion to by-mail and in-store disc rentals.

Separately, Samsung is working with Blockbuster Australia to bow the rental service’s On Demand movie platform to its smart TVs and mobile phones with content paid for through a singular payment option beginning in the first half of the year.

A Dish spokesperson said the deal with the Australian licensee of the Blockbuster brand does not involve Blockbuster in the United States.

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