Comcast offers on-demand simultaneous with DVD release

Comcast has begun an experimental initiative to release feature motion pictures on-demand simultaneously with their DVD release.

Running on Comcast systems in Denver and Pittsburgh, the trial service allows cable subscribers to pay $4 to view a feature film the same day it is released on DVD. Normally, there’s a 30- to 45-day gap between the DVD release and cable on-demand release.

“This is a sampling mechanism for the title,” Andrew Mellett, vice president for the video-on-demand division of Warner Digital Distribution, told “The New York Times.” “I don’t expect it to cannibalize sales on DVD. What we are really interested in seeing is whether this increases the buy rates.”

Comcast has been the industry leader in offering free and paid video-on-demand, compiling a library of 8000 movies and TV episodes to lure subscribers and to distinguish itself from satellite TV, the “Times” reported.

The newspaper said the experiment was a result of pressure by the cable industry to test paid video-on-demand so it could get a slice of the revenues immediately after the theater releases.