Comcast to premiere Big Four series on VOD; Cox scores HBO, Showtime, Starz content for 'Fall FreeView'

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Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Cox Communications are stepping up efforts to use video-on-demand programming to sell cable subscriptions, announcing separate initiatives that tout premieres of broadcast series on VOD and free trials for premium networks.

Cox said all subscribers will get access to HBO, Showtime and Starz programming through its Fall FreeView, which runs through Sept. 20. More than two dozen networks are supplying content to Cox for the promotion, including AMC, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel. Cox said it'll offer subscribers more than 500 episodes of 50 TV shows, including episodes from previous seasons.

Comcast is focusing on offering exclusive content in its "Fall TV Fest" promotion. The MSO said it will premiere several series on its Xfinity On Demand platform before their live TV premiere, including ABC's "Trophy Wife," CBS's "We are Men," Fox's "The Mindy Project" and NBC's "Ironside."

"Premiering a new show's pilot episode on demand before it debuts live can build buzz and drive ratings for the new series," Matt Strauss, Comcast SVP of digital and emerging platforms, wrote in a blog post.

Comcast is also stacking its VOD library with episodes of previous seasons of programs such ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and NBC's "Parenthood."

The "Fall TV Fest" is the third major VOD campaign Comcast has run this year. It ran an "Xfinity Watchathon Week" in March, and it focused on family-friendly programming in its "Summer of Kids" VOD promotion this summer.

For more:
- see the Comcast blog post
- see the Cox release

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