Premium cable network Showtime will jump into the TV Everywhere area with the launch this month of its subscriber-authentication based Showtime Anytime broadband video-streaming service.
The network has signed Comcast as its first affiliate for the service, which will allow consumers to access current and previous episodes of popular Showtime original series like Dexter, Weeds and Nurse Jackie, as well as more than 100 movie titles like The Hurt Locker and the Twilight films, according to Matt Blank, chairman and CEO for Showtime.
Subscribers will be able to access the service via ShowtimeAnytime.com site, which will launch later this year, or through their cable operator's TV Everywhere portal. Comcast subscribers can currently access the service now through Xfinity TV's online service at xfinitytv.com. The network said it is currently talking to other providers about securing deals for the site.
Among the features of the Showtime Anytime portal is a "My List" feature enables subscribers to customize their viewing experience online, by creating a personalized list of programs to watch. Each series offering is defined by an image on the site which consumers can click on to access current and past episodes -- every installment from Dexter's five seasons is currently available on the site for example -- and consumers can direct the site to deliver new episodes automatically to their "My List" area.
Visitors to the site will be able to browse the service online, however to watch the network's programming they will have to be authenticated by their respective operator as a Showtime subscriber.
Tom Christie, executive vice president of affiliate sales for Showtime, told Multichannel News that the service allows consumers to access Showtime content at their convenience.
"You have to have your head in the sand not to recognize that people are accessing content anytime and anywhere they want," Christie said. "The TV business is not going to be relegated to the big HDTV set in the living room -- it's going to be accessed via PC's and tablets. To continue to be relevant to consumers, a network has to make their content available when and where the consumer wants it, so we want to be on the curve as these markets develop."
Showtime joins competing premium TV services Home Box Office, Starz and Epix, as well as such basic services as TBS, TNT, A&E and Discovery in offering TV Everywhere-based online services.