Comcast’s initial foray into the world of electronic sell-through is off to a solid early start as the operator topped EST competitors, including iTunes and Amazon, for digital sales of Universal’s Despicable Me 2 for the week ended December 3, according to the Comcast-owned studio.
And, according to Lionsgate, the new Comcast Xfinity TV Store was also the top digital seller for The Hunger Games for each of the past two weeks.
Comcast is touting this early EST momentum just weeks after it quietly launched the Xfinity TV Store last month, entering a competitive market that also includes Vudu, Target Ticket, Google Play, Xbox Video, M-GO, and Verizon Communications, which sells and rents TV titles and movies via its “Flex View” service.
Depending on the title, the early EST window allows Comcast to sell some movies weeks before they are available for rent or purchase on Blu-ray and DVD. It’s currently selling the HD version of Despicable Me 2 for $20.99 and the standard-def version for $15.99 (Despicable Me 2 comes to DVD and Blu-ray on December 10), and The Hunger Games for $18.99 (HD) and $15.99 (SD). Comcast stores customer purchases in an MSO-operated cloud-based digital locker.
In addition to enabling playback of purchases on set-tops and PC browsers, Comcast also allows playback (but not direct purchases yet) via the "Xfinity On Demand Purchases" app for iOS devices Android-powered tablets and smartphones.
Comcast intends to ramp up its selection in the weeks and months ahead, but early on its electronic store offers more than 170 movies and just six TV series.
“Even though we only launched the service on November 19, we've already seen some encouraging signs related to adoption of the feature,” Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president and general manager, video services, noted Thursday in this blog post.
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%).