Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and CBS (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B) today announced that they will make four of the broadcaster's leading prime-time entertainment series available for viewers to watch at their convenience. This announcement marks a new phase for video on demand and further emphasizes the changing landscape of providing prime-time content to viewers whenever they choose. CBS, in partnership with Comcast, is the first broadcast network to offer its most coveted primetime programming through VOD with a cable provider.
Beginning in January, Comcast Digital Cable customers in markets served by
CBS owned-and-operated television stations (including the top 7 US markets)
will be able to view episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NCIS,
Survivor and The Amazing Race on Comcast's ON DEMAND service. The on-demand
programs will be available as early as midnight following their broadcast on
the CBS television network. Each episode will cost 99 cents, and customers
will be able to view the episodes anytime they want for up to 24 hours from
the time they order them. Certain Comcast systems also may make CSI and NCIS
available ON DEMAND in high-definition for customers with HD-enabled Comcast
digital cable set-top boxes. Prior to the March debut of new episodes of
Survivor and The Amazing Race, viewers will be able to order episodes of the
fall 2005 editions (Survivor: Guatemala and The Amazing Race 8.)
"Video on demand has fundamentally changed the way people watch TV, and
now for the first time the most popular prime-time CBS programming will be
available to our customers," said Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast
Corporation. "CBS has taken a giant step forward in experimenting with prime-
time video on demand. Comcast's ON DEMAND service has been tremendously
successful, with more than one billion program views so far this year."
"This is an incredibly exciting evolution for CBS and network television
-- video on demand is the next frontier for our industry, and we are thrilled
to be partnering with Comcast in taking this giant, positive leap forward,"
said Leslie Moonves, Chairman, CBS and Co-President and Co-Chief Operating
Officer, Viacom. "We're offering hit programming that is extremely well-suited
for this new medium, and we're confident the lure of watching these shows at
one's own convenience, will make this feature wildly popular. From its days as
one of the first radio broadcasters to its leadership in HDTV, CBS has always
been on the cutting edge of broadcasting technology, and this latest
development further distinguishes us as the undisputed industry leader."
The deal combines Comcast, the country's leading provider of cable,
entertainment and communications products and services, with the new CBS
Corporation, a leading global media company, with preeminent positions in
broadcast and cable television, radio, outdoor advertising, and online. Viacom
Inc. is in the process of separating its business into two publicly traded
companies, one of which will include the CBS Corporation.
Comcast's ON DEMAND service offers a growing library of more than 3,800
programs available any time customers want to watch them -- with the ability
to fast forward, rewind and pause selections. Nearly 95% of ON DEMAND
programs are available at no additional charge.
Upon the split of Viacom Inc., the CBS Corporation will be a mass media
company with constituent parts that reach back to the beginnings of the
broadcast industry, as well as newer businesses that operate on the leading
edge of the media industry. It will have operations in virtually every field
of media and entertainment, including broadcast television (CBS and UPN),
cable television (Showtime), local television (Viacom Television Stations
Group), television production and syndication (Paramount Television and King
World), radio (Infinity Broadcasting), advertising on out-of-home media
(Viacom Outdoor), publishing (Simon & Schuster) and theme parks (Paramount
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the
nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products
and services. With 21.4 million cable customers, 8.1 million high-speed
Internet customers, and 1.2 million voice customers, Comcast is principally
involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable
networks and in the delivery of programming content.
The Company's content networks and investments include E! Entertainment
Television, Style Network, The Golf Channel, OLN, G4, AZN Television, PBS KIDS
Sprout, TV One and four regional Comcast SportsNets. The Company also has a
majority ownership in Comcast-Spectacor, whose major holdings include the
Philadelphia Flyers NHL hockey team, the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball
team and two large multipurpose arenas in Philadelphia. Comcast Class A common
stock and Class A Special common stock trade on The NASDAQ Stock Market under
the symbols CMCSA and CMCSK, respectively.