Looking to undercut other electronic sell-through options, Comcast has put season one to Netflix original series House Of Cards on sale at a $1-per-episode discount.
According to the Xfinity TV Store Web site, high-definition episodes of season one run $1.99 each (versus a regular price of $2.99), and 99 cents per episode for the SD versions, which normally sell for $1.99 apiece. At the current, discounted price, consumers who take the Comcast EST option would pay $25.87 for the full season in HD, and $12.87 for the SD collection. Netflix’s subscription-based streaming service, which starts at $8 per month, currently offers both season one and season two of House of Cards.
Comcast has begun to sell season one of the popular series about two weeks after the operator announced that it had signed an EST deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Fox, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros Films and Television and Lionsgate, the distributor of another Netflix original, Orange Is The New Black, are among the studios that are already on Comcast's EST roster.
Comcast launched its EST product last November, offering a service that allows customers to purchase titles directly via 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.
Comcast’s EST library, which is expected to expand in the weeks ahead, currently offers access to about 160 movies, and just 15 TV series, including Bates Motel, The Americans, The Following, American Horror Story: Asylum; Chicago Fire, Modern Family, New Girl, Mad Men, and Sons of Anarchy, among others.
Comcast has joined a fiercely competitive EST market that includes fellow pay-TV provider Verizon Communications, Target Ticket, Apple iTunes, VUDU, Xbox Video, Google Play, M-GO, and Amazon Instant Video.
More MVPDs are expected to join the EST mix. “Having EST rights is a requirement now,” Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis said at last week’s Multichannel News/Broadcasting & Cable Next TV Summit in New York. “Maybe there was void a couple of years ago, but it’s standard fare now…You have to have it in the arsenal.”