Comcast, using its clout, has shrunk the movie windows even further, and will experiment with launching movies on its VOD service at the same time it hits the DVD. The experiment, which will run in Pittsburgh and Denver, would let customers pay $4 (on VOD) to see a movie the same day they could buy it at a neighborhood store for about $25, or rent it for about the same price as the VOD service. This closes a normal 30- to 45-day gap between DVD and VOD release. The story says the experiment is a result of pressure by the cable industry to test paid VOD so that it could get a slice of the revenues immediately after theater release.
The spin: “This is a sampling mechanism for the title” said Andrew Mellett, VP for VOD division of Warner Digital Distribution, which is offering “Superman Returns” and other movies via Comcast. “I don’t expect it to cannibalize sales on DVD. What we are really interested in seeing is whether this increases the buy rates.” I don’t see how it would NOT cannibalize, but better the industry itself than anyone else.
In another Comcast related news, it has tied up with Endemol, the TV production giant, for a new user-generated video project. The “Ten-Day Take” project would allow people to submit ideas for a proposed TV series to Comcast’s newly launched video site Ziddio. Comcast and Endemol will ask a panel of judges to select the most creative submission, which would then go to production as a full-fledged pilot. Endemol promises to spend $50,000 on the pilot, allotting 10 days to the production. If the pilot shows promise, it could end up going to series.