Comcast will soon become the first of the cable giants to offer digital movies and TV shows for sale. Reports from Reuters and The Wall Street Journal cite sources at the country’s biggest cable provider who said the company will begin offering titles for streaming and download via its set-top boxes and the Xfinity website as early as the end of this year.
While Comcast spokespeople are remaining mum so far, the implications are that the new service will begin with a limited selection of a few hundred titles including new releases, older movies, and select TV content. Sources said the company is currently in negotiations with major studios to secure licensing for new titles. The content will reportedly be accessible through various sources including streaming and downloading to tablets and smartphones, but no plans have yet been made to add the content to the Ultraviolet cloud so far.
Though nothing has been set to ink, the move seems like a no brainer for both sides of the equation. Digital sales would allow Comcast to leverage its affiliation with NBCUniversal to secure content and create another revenue source to peddle to its legions of subscribers. On the other end, the company’s 20 million users would bring another pipeline of revenue to Hollywood studios, still looking to replace the golden goose of their dwindling DVD and Blu-Ray sales.
The news comes as the latest in a slew of new moves by Comcast to help generate profits and keep its subscriber based locked in, including a recent rebranding of its Xfinity Go application that allows users to access live TV and On-demand programming from anywhere over a WiFi network. The Wall Street Journal reports that Dish Network is also looking to make a move into digital sales, and if the past is any indication of what’s to come, we’ll likely see other major cable providers such as Verizon’s Fios, Charter, and Time Warner following suit as well.