‘Glee’ Comes to XFinity: Comcast Signs VOD Deal With ABC and Fox

Cable giant now has all of the Big Four networks under VOD contract; and it’s still in talks with the movie studios to do premium VOD; meanwhile, satellite rival DirecTV looks at expanding its VOD offerings

Last Updated: April 27, 2011 @ 12:33 PM

"Glee" and "Private Practice" are coming to XFinity.

Comcast announced on Wednesday that has signed a deal with ABC and Fox to offer first-run shows on the cable giant's XFinity VOD platform.

With the agreement, Comcast becomes the only TV services provider to offer shows on video-on-demand from all of the Big Four broadcast networks (Hulu does not have an agreement with CBS).

Also read: YouTube Finally Goes Hollywood With New Movies on Demand Service (Exclusive)

Premium VOD Impact Is Nil for 'Just Go With It's' Box Office

Separately, Comcast confirmed reports that it continues to talk to four of the major movie studios to offer movies on VOD about eight weeks after their theatrical premiere — a plan very similar to the Home Premiere offering DirecTV launched last week.

Starting Thursday, more than 20 shows from ABC and Fox will begin their rollout on XFinity, including  "Body of Proof," "Castle," "Cougar Town," "Desperate Housewives," "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" from ABC, and "American Dad," "Bones, "The Chicago Code," "Family Guy" and "Glee" from Fox, just to name a few.

“Our goal is to deliver customers the best and most-current entertainment choices anytime, anywhere so they can catch up and keep up with their favorite TV shows,” said Marcien Jenckes, senior VP and G.M. of video services for Comcast, in a statement. “By nearly doubling the number of current TV series from broadcast networks, Xfinity TV On Demand offers our customers a one-of-a-kind experience that can’t be found elsewhere.”

Earlier, at a Tuesday-afternoon press briefing, Jenckes, told Bloomberg that the company is in early-stage talks with the movie studios on premium VOD.

An individual with knowledge of those negotiations confirmed to TheWrap that it's the same group of studios that already made a premium VOD deal with DirecTV.

Last week, DirecTV began a similar program called Home Premiere, which offers movie rentals from Fox, Universal, Warner and Sony 60 days after their theatrical premiere for $60.

On Wednesday, a DirecTV rep confirmed that the satellite service provider has also issued a survey to select subscribers asking their thoughts for a much broader VOD offering — or, as the survey described it, "a streaming-only Netflix-like service for a flat fee per month."

"We are constantly reaching out to customers with various surveys and taking the temperature in the marketplace," a DirecTV rep told TheWrap. "It does not mean we are necessarily moving forward with anything contained within the survey, but merely checking in the consumer minset to keep our business strong."

As for the Philadelphia-based Comcast, it's just the latest media company to explore the VOD explosion.

As TheWrap first reported on Tuesday, YouTube will imminently launch a movie-on-demand service charging users to stream mainstream Hollywood movies off the world’s largest video sharing site. The service may start as early as this week or next, and is expected to be announced soon by YouTube.

Major studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Universal have licensed their movies for the new service, as have numerous independent studios, including Lionsgate and the library-rich Kino Lorber, according to movie executives with knowledge of the deals in place.


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