Comcast to Brand VOD Service ch1

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Comcast is ditching the generic Comcast On Demand label for a new moniker: ch1.

The operator this week began promoting the ch1 brand -- pronounced “channel one” -- on its video-on-demand barker channel and started using it in marketing materials, senior director of corporate communications Jenni Moyer said. The MSO also set up a Web site to promote ch1.

ch1 will become the new name for the top operator’s VOD service, which is located at channel 1 on all Comcast systems. “It’s the idea of making video-on-demand a destination,” Moyer said. “You will go to this channel to find everything related to on-demand content.”

Comcast first launched VOD service in 2002. The operator offers more than 7,500 on-demand titles per month -- most of which are free-of-charge to subscribers -- and its VOD offerings include 100 hours of HD content.

The company has been keen to grow and promote VOD usage. First, it provides a key point of differentiation from satellite competitors, which cannot technically offer the style of VOD services cable can.

Moreover, VOD has helped Comcast to grow its top line. In reporting 2006 results, Comcast said growth in on-demand movie purchases was a primary reason why pay-per-view revenue rose 27% to $633 million compared with the year prior.

Comcast laid the groundwork for the branding move Feb. 9, when it filed an application for a trademark on ch1 with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The filing, assigned serial number 7710396, included a rendering of the logo for ch1, with a blue background and white lettering.

“The applicant claims color as a feature of the mark, namely, blue and white,” according to the trademark filing. “The mark consists of the lowercase letters ‘ch’ in white, followed by the numeral one outlined in white, all against a blue background.”

Previously, the operator filed for a trademark on Select On Demand, which it introduced in late 2004 for its VOD-only content, which includes instructional videos from Exercise TV and Digital Cookbook.

However, Comcast did not have trademark protection for the core On Demand service, which the company represents in all-capital letters. “No claim is made to the exclusive right to use ‘On Demand’ apart from the mark as shown,” said a Sept. 19, 2006, Comcast trademark filing for Select On Demand.

Comcast On Demand has served more than 3.7 billion video streams in the past three years. As of the end of 2006, VOD was available to all 12.7 million of the operator’s digital subscribers.

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