A+E Networks launched its first iPad video apps for A&E, History and Lifetime with free access to full episodes of the networks’ original series and struck a TV Everywhere deal with Comcast, under which the MSO’s subscribers can access even more content.
The A+E apps were released Thursday in the Apple iTunes App Store, just a few months after many of the programmer’s original series were dropped from Netflix. A+E spokesman Dan Silberman said the launch of the apps and the Comcast TV Everywhere pact have “nothing to do with the Netflix deal.”
The free apps provide a "sampling" of full episodes, movies and exclusive clips of A+E programming, according to Silberman, including current and previous seasons of: Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty on A&E; Pawn Stars and Swamp People on History; and Dance Moms and Project Runway on Lifetime. A+E already provides some free episodes on its websites.
Comcast Xfinity TV customers will have access to even more content, including full previous seasons of select series. According to A+E, the app will support additional distributors in early 2013.
"In partnering with A+E Networks, Comcast continues to build on its industry-leading TV Everywhere offerings, and yet again positions Xfinity TV customers at the forefront to access great programming on multiple devices," said Matt Strauss, senior vice president of digital and emerging platforms for Comcast Cable.
Separately, Comcast announced Thursday that video customers can use the Xfinity TV Player app to download thousands of premium TV shows and movies from Showtime, Starz, Encore and MoviePlex to their Apple or Android smartphones or tablets. That content includes Showtime's Homeland and Dexter and Starz's Spartacus and Magic City, as well as movies from Starz such as Cars 2 and The Muppets.
The A+E apps were created by Dallas-based mobile apps developer Bottle Rocket. A watch-list section in the apps shows a “continue watching” list of all videos in progress as well as a “queue” section to indicate the availability of new full episodes of series as they are released.
In January, A+E expects to add iPhone and iPod touch versions of all three apps, while an Android version is expected later in the first quarter of the year.
“By offering the A&E, History and Lifetime watch apps, we are giving fans of our networks an opportunity to consume our leading libraries of original quality content wherever and whenever they want it,” A+E Networks executive vice president of digital media and business development Dan Suratt said in a statement.