Six Studios in Comcast VOD Trial

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Comcast’s day-and-date video-on-demand market test in Denver and Pittsburgh includes six studios selling such titles as You, Me and Dupree, The Ant Bully and An Inconvenient Truth on demand at the same time they’re released as DVDs.

Comcast wouldn’t officially comment on the trial, reported Monday inThe New York Times, but confirmed participation from Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal, Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox.

Other titles in the two-market trial include Superman Returns, Scoop and See No Evil, available to Comcast digital-cable customers on-demand 30-45 days sooner than they would have if typical “windows” applied. The titles are priced at $3.99 on-demand -- the same as other top VOD titles.

Comcast expects more movie titles (including ones from each of the participating studios) to become part of the trial over time.

The test is expected to run about six months, and then parties will evaluate the results. Actually, it could take longer to evaluate the impact on DVD sales or video-store rentals because the studios will want to see how much better sales were in Denver and Pittsburgh than in markets where the titles hit VOD with the usual 30- to 45-day lag.

A Warner executive was quoted in the Times as predicting little impact on DVD sales -- a far bigger business than VOD -- from earlier on-demand releases.

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