Comcast is expanding the number of movies and TV shows offered through its budding electronic sell-through (EST) service after striking a deal with Warner Bros. Films and Television.
The agreement will allow Comcast to sell titles such as Gravity, 42, Argo, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Great Gatsby via the Xfinity On Demand digital store, a service launched last November that lets customers purchase titles directly via the PC browsers or set-top boxes. In addition to enabling playback of purchases on set-tops and PCs, Comcast also allows playback (but not direct purchases yet) via the "Xfinity On Demand Purchases" app for iOS devices Android-powered tablets and smartphones.
Under the deal, Comcast will have the ability to sell many Warner Bros. titles “several weeks” before they are released on DVD.
Warner Bros Films and Television joins a Comcast EST studio roster that also includes Fox, Lionsgate, and corporate cousin NBCUniversal.
Comcast expects to add Warner Bros. content in the upcoming weeks. Comcast, which will compete in the EST market with Apple iTunes, Vudu, Xbox Video, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, and Verizon’s “Flex View” service, among others, is in the process of expanding the amount of content available through the store, but as of Tuesday (February 11), it provided access to about 174 movies and a dozen TV series, including Suits,New Girl, Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men.
“We are thrilled to add the Warner Bros.’ hit films and television shows to our rapidly expanding offering of titles available for purchase,” said Michael Schreiber, senior vice president of content acquisition at Comcast,” in a statement. “Our Xfinity On Demand platform provides customers with the most current content, where and when they want it, and the incredible success of our digital store and cloud-based digital locker will only continue to grow as we expand the platform.”
“Comcast is an excellent partner and its Xfinity TV digital storefront is a terrific outlet for Warner Bros.’ great slate of films and TV shows,” added Jim Wuthrich, president of the Americas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “We’re very pleased to see Comcast move into digital sales and we look forward to helping them further expand their digital store.”
According to NPD Group, iTunes held 61% of the EST movies market for the period of June through August of 2013, followed by Amazon Instant Video (15%), the Sony PlayStation Store (7%), Vudu and Xbox Video (4% each), Google Play (3%) and Verizon Flex View (1%).