Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) launched its much-touted video portal Fancast in beta in August last year…it was a slightly buggy version without the promised TV shows and other longer form video. Now at CES, it is relaunching it and adding TV shows from NBC, CBS (NYSE: CBS), Fox, the Hulu JV, and others. It also has movie and other video content from MGM, Sony (NYSE: SNE) Pictures Television, USA, Bravo, SciFi and BBC.
According to this Reuters story, Comcast said it has licensing deals for more than 50,000 TV shows, 80,000 movies and information on 1.2 million actors, directors, and others for Fancast (which it is licensing from Baseline, owned by NYT, AMG and others).
The key, it hopes though, is that the site isn’t just about hosted video, but points and aggregates other sites/video services. Also, Comcast plans to move some Fancast features to the set-top box so users check up-to-date information about actors etc. This is more interesting in light of the portable and inter-operable DVR service that it announced yesterday along with Panasonic.
This is among the most ambitious online service Comcast has launched till date out of its interactive division. It of course has the Comcast.net portal for its broadband subscribers (even though it is open to anyone), and has launched couple of smaller sites including online video site Ziddio.com and GameInvasion.net, and it bought movie tickets site Fandango last year. But it would be tough to make Fancast a destination, what with tough competition from everyone including portals and the TV networks themselves.