In a departure for a premium channel, next year Showtime will be supplying Comcast Corp. with some of its series, such as Dead Like Me, for the MSO’s free video-on-demand service, officials said last week.
Currently, only Comcast digital customers who subscribe to Showtime have access to the premium network’s on-demand programming, in the form of Showtime On Demand.
But starting next year, Showtime will provide some of its shows via VOD even to Comcast digital homes that don’t subscribe to the channel.
“In our continuing effort to support our clients and their needs, Showtime will be providing Comcast with original library product — such as the first season of such popular series as Dead Like Me and Soul Food — for Comcast to offer their digital subscribers on a free on-demand basis,” a Showtime spokeswoman said.
The idea is to expose non-Showtime subscribers to the programming in hopes they’ll like it and sign up for the premium service. Comcast is believed to be discussing similar opportunities with other pay TV programmers.
“Showtime is going to experiment with some of their best series and make them available to non-Showtime customers,” Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts told Multichannel News. “What a great marketing idea to see what you’re missing by not having Showtime.”
The Showtime spokeswoman said that the programming available to consumers on a free VOD basis with Comcast will be different than what’s available as part of Showtime On Demand.
“The FOD content will help Comcast customers become more familiar with the programming that Showtime has to offer,” she said. The initiative will start in the second quarter, Showtime said, but according to Comcast a definitive kickoff date hasn’t been set.