Denver and Pittsburgh may be the sites Comcast Cable and some key studio partners have selected to conduct a trial that offers select movie titles via VOD at the same time they are released on DVD, but the way the MSO is marketing it differs in each market.
Comcast declined to comment on the trials, but sources familiar with them said the MSO is promoting and advertising it actively in Pittsburgh, and less so in Denver, because the Mile High City is being used as a control market in this instance. Together, the results will help the operators and studios better determine how the tighter VOD windows resonate with consumers and drive buys of the new titles.
Comcast and the studios will make further decisions on the concept once it tabulates results from the trial.
The New York Times broke the story in Monday's edition.
Despite the varied ad tactics, Comcast is supporting the offer via barker promotions in both Denver and Pittsburgh. Six studios are participating in the trial: Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Disney, NBC Universal, Lion's Gate and Twentieth Century Fox.
All VOD titles offered in the new window run $3.99, the same as other newer titles distributed in the traditional VOD window, which is typically 30 to 45 days after the DVD release.
The MSO launched the trial the week of Thanksgiving, and so far titles offered in the tighter window include "Superman Returns," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," "The Ant Bully," Me, You and Dupree," "Scoop" and "See No Evil."
The trials in Denver and Pittsburgh are not the first day-and-date foray for Comcast. In February, Comcast, along with Cablevision Systems Corp., announced a deal to offer films from IFC Entertainment via VOD at the same time they premiere in theaters. Those titles, when bought on-demand from the operators, run about $6 each.