Comcast Banks on Emerging Platforms

At Credit Suisse: Cable Operator Increases VOD, HDTV Content

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NEW YORK ( -- Comcast Chief Financial Officer John Alchin told investors at the Credit Suisse First Boston Media Conference yesterday that the key to high-definition TV's continued growth will be increased options for the 23 million households who currently subscribe to the technology.
Comcast's 'The Fan' service looks to push HDTV as a major growth driver.
Comcast's 'The Fan' service looks to push HDTV as a major growth driver.

High-def content
Comcast did its part by establishing "The Fan," an interactive spinning wheel that allows consumers to choose from a smorgasbord of news, entertainment and sports-related content for their high definition-viewing pleasure. It counts among its participating networks NBC, CBS, Comedy Central and, most recently, ABC, which added "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" to Comcast's lineup.

The company also scored a major coup by securing exclusive broadcast rights to the "Star Wars" and "Lord of the Rings" franchises two weeks before their premium competitors launched them. In total, five major studios have come aboard thus far to provide viewers with the best-quality video entertainment.

'Expand the pie'
"It really gives us a great opportunity to expand the pie with more viewings of these movies," Mr. Alchin said. "We have a very clear advantage in that category, with a high customer satisfaction rate and 70% of our audience saying it's an improvement upon digital cable."

And good news for video-on-demand buyers: Mr. Alchin projects that the number of VOD hours will double in 2007 and again in 2008. "[TV viewing] is no longer a linear experience dictated by a programming guide," he said.
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