Comcast’s Alchin Details Sony Deals

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Comcast Corp. executive vice president and co-chief financial officer John Alchin shed a little light on the MSO’s recent deal with Sony Corp., telling investors at an industry conference that the MSO is intensely studying the creation of new channels.

Comcast reached a separate content deal with Sony last week -- it gains access to Sony’s 3,000-film movie library and 35,000-episode television-programming vault for video-on-demand offerings.

The two companies also reached another deal under which Sony and Comcast will form a joint venture to create new cable channels.

Both deals are independent from Sony’s agreement to purchase Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., but they would cover MGM content -- including 4,000 movies and 10,000 TV episodes -- if the Sony purchase is approved.

At the Banc of America Securities Investment Conference in San Francisco, Alchin said the Sony-MGM VOD deal will give Comcast access to 400 additional movies, which will be refreshed regularly and which will be available as both free and a la carte priced product.

He added that as far as the channel-creation venture, no new channels have been defined yet, but Comcast has already done an “enormous amount of study and preliminary work.”

Alchin said Comcast has a wealth of experience in the content arena through its past ownership of QVC Inc. and its current holdings in E! Entertainment Television, The Golf Channel and Outdoor Life Network.

“We know an enormous amount about content, and we have built an enormous amount of value through content,” he added. “We think we really are in the catbird seat in being able to do this.”

As far as Comcast’s participation as an investor in the deal -- for as much as $300 million, according to some estimates -- Alchin said that hasn’t been decided yet, adding, “We’ll have more to say down the road.”

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