Free VOD Gets in Gear

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Comcast On Demand will look to score with viewers this summer with an array of original and exclusive content from the National Basketball Association, the Tour de France and the X Games.

The free on-demand service, available to approximately 8 million Comcast Corp. digital-cable subscribers, is currently offering more than 60 hours of content related to the June 28 NBA Draft.

As part of its coverage, Comcast will offer NBA TV-produced profiles of more than 25 top prospects as well as highlights, expert analysis of each team’s needs and vintage draft moments, Comcast On Demand vice president and general manager Page Thompson said.

In addition, NBA TV vice president and general manager Steve Herbst said the package also will include more lighthearted segments, including a debate on the best draft class and the flashiest fashions worn by draftees during the ceremony.

Following the draft, fans can recap their favorite teams’ selections and get player reaction and report-card analysis from a panel of NBA TV insiders.

Comcast offered a similar service around the National Football League Draft for a four-week period in late April and early May. Overall, Thompson said, the network generated 540,000 views of NFL Network-produced draft content — most of which came during and after the draft.

“People were going in there immediately to see who their team had drafted or checking players that are coming up in the next round,” Thompson said. “This is a way of presenting sports content that you can’t do on a linear platform.”

Herbst said the NBA will work with Comcast on future VOD content packages revolving around regular-season, All-Star Game and playoff coverage.

Along with NBA content, Thompson said the network is also planning to launch programming related to ESPN’s X Games, including athlete profiles, tips on the action sports and highlights of daily activities, he said. The company will also offer exclusive coverage of a “unique” skateboarding competition from the four-day extreme-sports event, which begins Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

The content is part of an overall two-month Comcast preview of ESPN On Demand that runs through August.

In addition, Thompson said Comcast VOD will partner with sister network OLN to provide next-day highlights from the network’s monthlong Tour de France coverage in July.

While Comcast has offered replays of live college football and basketball game programming, Thompson said its alternate sports programming packages draw more viewers. Such fare is part of the MSO’s strategy of providing sports fans with an array of live, repeat and exclusive content through its linear, digital video recorder and VOD offerings.

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