What’s with all the cooperation lately between Comcast and content providers? First, A&E turns up touting Comcast’s commercial services in its “Flip This House” ads earlier this month. Now, Warner Bros Pictures is partnering with the MSO to promote its “The Dark Knight” Batman movie. Perhaps it’s just good business for all. The Comcast-Warner Bros partnership announced today includes giving Comcast customers a behind-the-scenes look at movie footage and trailers through the VOD menu. But the more fun and creative aspect of the deal involves the release of 6 “mini-movies” in which actors—featured in a fake news format called “Gotham Tonight”—give interviews as their characters to tell the story of what happened between this Batman movie and the last one. That should be fun for die-hard fans, and Comcast is making it all available in HD for the cinemaphiles among its customers.
So what’s the point of all of this?
Comcast is obviously trying to prove that it can leverage the VOD platform to help movies and TV shows gain audience. And it’s all part of Comcast’s big “Project Infinity” push outlined by Comcast chmn Brian Roberts with so much fanfare at the Cable Show. For content providers, Comcast is fast becoming the most VOD-friendly MSO, with more than 10,000 unique selections each month (more than 500 of those choices are available in HD). Furthermore, Comcast claims customers are selecting VOD more than 300mln times per month.
Once Project Canoe and its partial goal of facilitating dynamic VOD advertising starts humming, these kind of cross-promotional partnerships could bring in even more money via ads or product integration opportunities. Add interactivity, and it’s not a stretch to imagine purchases through the remote. And if HDNet co-founder Mark Cuban’s vision of releasing movies on VOD before theatrical release ever takes hold with major studios (ie, the studios are able to stand up to big theater owners who vehemently oppose such release tactics), the Comcast-Warner Bros partnership could someday be expanded to include integrated VOD buys right then and there. Comcast’s Steve Burke has publicly salivated over that prospect in the past. It may perhaps only be a matter of time.