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Discovery Goes OnDemand Online With Comcast

Discovery2Comcast (s CMCSA) will add full-length episodic content from The Discovery Channel (s DISCA) to its OnDemand Online authentication trial this week, the two companies announced today.

Shows from the network that will be featured via OnDemand Online will include Man vs. Wild, Swords and Storm Chasers. Of note from this announcement is the release window Discovery is putting in place for some of its content. From the press release:

Beginning this week, customers will be able to view the fourth season of the Emmy®-nominated series MAN VS. WILD and the world premiere series SWORDS the day after they air on television along with past episodes of STORM CHASERS. VERMINATORS episodes will be available a week after television airing.

If OnDemand Online is supposed to free up content because I’m paying for it, why the one week delay in making it available online?

Looks like Discovery Communications, which owns The Discovery Channel, along with other networks like Animal Planet and TLC, is maintaining some caution when it comes to putting full-length content online. The company had been resistant to doing so, sticking instead with only short-form clips. As Liz wrote back in April:

Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav said in an on-stage interview at the NAB Show in Las Vegas today that he didn’t see an economic model for free web distribution of long-form content. He said he’d only distribute episodes online if circumstances forced him to, and so far the numbers aren’t significant enough.

Discovery had been hesitant because it gets roughly half of its revenues from MSOs, and the company didn’t want to upset the apple cart by putting full episodes online for free. Hooking up with OnDemand Online allows Discovery to stream full episodes of its content online behind the safety of Comcast’s subscription wall. Though the company appears to still be overprotective of its TV audience.

Comcast’s OnDemand Online trial currently has 24 participants, and is expected to roll out nationwide during the fourth quarter of this year.

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