Comcast and Time Warner held a joint press conference today to announce details around the On Demand Online initiative. Specifically, Comcast will begin a trial next month to test out its authentication system and gather feedback on the new video service. Here are the deets as we now know them:
- The trial will include roughly 5,000 Comcast customers nationwide
- Content from Time Warner will include shows from TNT and TBS like The Closer, Saving Grace, and My Boys
- Comcast expects to add more programming networks as the trial expands
- Time Warner expects to announce similar trials with other distributors (presumably the recently-spun-off Time Warner Cable)
There is a fair amount of venom directed at the cable companies for trying to make consumers pay for content online. (You have to be a cable subscriber to get the online video.) However, it’s worth pointing out that we’re talking about content that hasn’t been available online before. This is an added feature for subscribers, rather than a new fee on an old service. Certainly there is cause to be cautious until we see how well the authentication scheme works, but the premise here of making more content available through the Web is a positive one.
Side note: A friend of mine will likely be part of the upcoming trial. Hopefully that will lead me to some hands-on testing in July.