News


Comcast cuts House of Cards deal, mulls own YouTube-type service

US cable giant Comcast has acquired rights to sell season one of Netflix original House of Cards through its set-top boxes.

The deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment means the dark political drama will be available to Comcast set-top box customers with Xfinity TV to purchase or rent through the recently launched Xfinity On Demand digital store service.

Netflix exclusively launched the season last year and premiered a second on Valentines Day (February 14). Sony sells both the international TV and home entertainment rights to the Media Rights Capital-produced show.

Another Netflix original, Orange is the New Black, is also headed to the Xfinity On Demand service via a deal with Lionsgate Entertainment.

Comcast’s deal with SPHE also includes AMC’s Breaking Bad and Sony movies American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, The Amazing Spider-Man and 21 Jump Street.

Xfinity On Demand launched in November and offers content from FOX, Lionsgate, subsidiary NBCUniversal and Warner Bros.

“The response to the digital store has been encouraging and tells us our customers love the flexibility and ease of purchasing content directly from Xfinity On Demand to watch when and where they want it,” said Comcast Cable’s senior VP, content acquisition Michael Schreiber.

Separately, Comcast is reportedly mulling the launch of a YouTube-like video site that would be available through its users’ set-top boxes.

According to US news service The Information, the US cable giant is considering a plan whereby it would launch a new platform that would offer video content providers a higher proportion of advertising revenue than the Google site and would also allow users to charge for access to their content.

The Information, citing two unnamed sources, reported that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and the company’s co-founder Ralph Roberts had seen a demonstration of the service, which would offer shorter web video alongside live and on-demand TV programming.

Comcast’s management is reported to be divided on whether to press ahead, with some executives concerned that a YouTube-type service could take viewers away from regular cable programming, while others believe it could strengthen the company’s hand in negotiations with programmers.