Comcast Tries Fine Art On Demand

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In the latest addition to its collection of high-definition on demand fare, Comcast has added fine arts to its gallery.

The nation’s largest cable operator today officially launches GalleryPlayer On Demand, the first HD video-on-demand service spotlighting fine art masterpieces and spectacular natural photography.

The still-image views change every minute and are accompanied by synchronized music. GalleryPlayer On Demand is available to all Comcast digital-cable customers with HD service.

In September, Comcast began a push toward offering 100 hours of HD on demand programming per month.

HD PICTURE FRAME

“This is the latest extension of making on-demand a real added benefit to linear TV,” Comcast senior vice president and general manager of video services Page Thompson said. “This is HDTV as a picture frame. We’ve seen some interesting results over the last few months with people using the images for Gallery Player for entertaining at dinner parties or just for relaxing.”

Comcast began trialing Gallery Player in Richmond, Va., in February and then made it available in Salt Lake City in June. Comcast soft launched the service nationally in September without any market support.

Now, Thompson said the service will benefit from exposure via positioning on Comcast’s on-demand barker channel, plus direct mail messages and mention in the operator’s e-blast newsletter.

Among the eight themed image collections currently available to Comcast: “Art of Leonardo da Vinci”; “Autumn Splendor”; “Space Spectacular”; Serene Beaches; the “Spectacular Beauty of Storms”; and “African Safari Adventure” (from National Geographic).

Thompson noted that over the past couple of months the images from space and beaches have ranked first and second among subscribers. Thompson added that Gallery Player opens up more on-demand worlds for Comcast.

“This is a different attraction and audience for us in HD on demand than working with Cinemax on the Star Wars movies,” he said. “We’re going to do some grassroots marketing and outreach to people who visit museums and go to art exhibits.”

MORE AFFILIATES COMING

For Seattle-based GalleryPlayer, which has agreements with 45 leading holders of rights-managed arts and photography, more industry deals loom. Vice president of marketing Rusty Cintron next year envisioned “a larger role in cable with five to seven partners.” A couple of those announcements may be made before the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, he said.

The company, which is part of the Google Pack software offering and has a distribution partnership with Microsoft as a premium-image service, is currently seeking “PBS-style” advertiser support for the “assets” it has with Comcast.

GalleryPlayer also has HD screen placements in restaurants, hotels, libraries and corporate offices

Other revenue streams spring from DVD sales of the varied collections, plus image downloads at galleryplayer.com.

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