RealTime IT News

Primedia Joins VOD Party

Comcast is wasting no time as it looks to bring in new revenues from its investment in digital cable systems and specialty publisher Primedia has added video-on-demand as another distribution arm for its advertisers. The cable giant is about to launch new VOD products in its Philadelphia market in conjunction with Primedia .

The new content has the potential to reach about 1.2 million customers whose cable systems are upgraded for digital video downloads.

The arrangement is the first VOD deal for the New York-based Primedia, which plans to provide Comcast's digital cable subscribers with branded video programming from Primedia's "Video Magazine Rack." The initial offers will include content built from Primedia's stable of specialty magazines such as Motor Trend, Specialty Cars, Parenting Basics, On The Job and TeenNews.

The aim is to widen the distribution of the magazine content and expand the reach of Primedia advertisers. In an environment in which consumers are increasingly empowered to skip past or close down commercial messaging, ad-supported content players are seeking more creative ways of reaching consumers with content and advertising; on-demand channels like that created by the Comcast/Primedia partnership is one example of such an effort.

Before Comcast completed its merger with AT&T Broadband to became the nation's largest cable provider with 21.4 million subscribers, it had upgraded close to 25 percent of its own cable subscriber base of about 8.5 million to digital cable. Since the merger, however, Comcast is now undertaking to the upgrade AT&T Broadband systems.

Primedia also said it would promote the video-on-demand arrangement in its own print publications, television programming, Web sites and live events. The initial launch of the "Video Mags", slated for January, is to consist of eight videos consisting of 40 hours of content, Primedia said.

Tara Maitra, senior VP of Primedia Digital Video, said the arrangement is an extension of the company's print franchises, which it has already extended to video programming. The VOD arrangement with Comcast gives Primedia another distribution deal to offer advertisers.