Beginning September 15, Comcast will offer 100 hours of high-definition video-on-demand (HD VOD) programs on its signature ON DEMAND service. As part of this industry-leading initiative, Comcast and Starz Entertainment today announced that at least 20 high-definition movies from Starz Entertainment will be available each month. The debut of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe on September 15 -- more than one week before its scheduled airdate on the Starz HD cable channel -- kicks off a series of Hollywood blockbuster HD VOD premieres on Comcast this fall.
Comcast's HD VOD rollout comes as video-on-demand usage is soaring, with customers viewing more than three billion ON DEMAND programs since 2004 and clamoring for more HD programming on demand. In a recent survey of 200 cable customers with HD service conducted by ICR (International Communications Research) for Comcast, nearly 80 percent of respondents said they prefer to watch high-definition programs on their terms, not when the shows air on a traditional television schedule. When asked to identify the importance of types of programming in HD, customers listed their preferences as:
* Primetime broadcast network shows (65%) * Premium channel movies and series (62%) * National sports (61%) * Local sports (58%)
"Customers have clearly expressed their desire for more HD programming, and our fall HD VOD lineup will become the destination for HD movie fans," said Page Thompson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video Services for Comcast. "The addition of Starz HD to Comcast's growing HD VOD library and early premieres like The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe are helping to transform the HD viewing experience for our customers by giving them more programming on their schedules."
Comcast also will offer a Starz Free Preview from September 15-17 for all of the Starz Entertainment services it offers, including the Starz suite of premium channels, HD, and the newly launched Starz HD ON DEMAND and Encore HD ON DEMAND.
"HD customers love movies, and we are delighted to make available regularly up to two dozen great Hi-Def films from Starz Entertainment on Comcast's ON DEMAND platform," said Andrew Nigolian, Senior Vice President of Affiliate Sales with Starz Entertainment. "HD ON DEMAND is a terrific showcase for movie content. The Starz Free Preview on Comcast from September 15-17 is a great way for all Comcast customers to check out the hit movies on our premium channels and ON DEMAND."
Comcast was one of the first video providers to offer HD and VOD services. The company's industry-leading high-definition lineup now includes affiliates of all major broadcast networks; comprehensive sports coverage with ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD, as well as regional sports networks across the country; every available premium HD network, including Starz, HBO, Cinemax and Showtime; and the most popular HD cable networks, including Discovery, MHD and TNT. Comcast's ON DEMAND service offers a growing library of more than 7,500 programs available anytime customers want to watch them -- with the ability to fast forward, rewind and pause selections.
The high-definition version of the flagship Starz service, Starz HD has a mix of recent Hollywood hits and other popular films. East and West feeds of Starz HD are transmitted in wide-screen 16x9 1080i and feature Dolby(R) Digital 5.1 sound. Upcoming titles available from Starz HD include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; National Treasure; Flightplan; Rent; and The Incredibles.
ICR conducted 200 telephone interviews of Comcast cable customers with HD service in May 2006. There is a +/-7% margin of error for the survey.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (http://www.comcast.com) is the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 23.3 million cable customers, 10 million high-speed Internet customers, and 1.6 million voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable systems and in the delivery of programming content.
Comcast'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. Comcast 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.
About Starz Entertainment
Starz Entertainment, LLC, is a premium movie service provider operating in the United States. It offers 16 movie channels including the flagship Starz(R) and Encore(R) brands with approximately 15.1 million and 27.1 million subscribers respectively. Starz Entertainment airs more than 1,000 movies per month across its pay TV channels and offers advanced services including Starz HD, Starz On Demand and Vongo(SM). Starz Entertainment is an operating unit of Starz, LLC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation that is attributed to Liberty Capital Group, http://www.starz.com.
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, NARNIA, and all book titles, characters and locales original thereto are trademarks and are used with permission. DISNEY/WALDEN.