Comcast wants to make all its content available online, and has been hard at work striking deals with content partners to bring their shows to its Xfinity website, mobile, and connected TV apps. The latest deal, with Scripps Networks, will add more programming to those platforms from networks like HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel and Great American Country.
Comcast announced its TV Everywhere initiative three years ago, and has been busy striking long-term deals to improve its digital products. So far it’s gotten content providers like Time Warner, Disney, and others signed up, but the rollout has been a little slower than expected. That’s due in part to the length of many of the deals that it’s been negotiating.
It also is due to a relatively wariness on the part of the networks themselves, as they try to figure out what the business model behind TV Everywhere. That is, how are shows put online measured and monetized? Up until recently, there’s been little interest in moving stuff online, because shows that appeared online and on mobile apps generally didn’t bring in as much money in ad revenue as the networks could expect from broadcast TV. But it’s clear that consumers are increasingly watching video content on new platforms, and content providers need to be there to capture those audiences.
That’s especially true for networks like Food Network and DYI, which are seeing increasing competition from online-first content creators. As Peter Kafka pointed out a few weeks ago, YouTube, Demand Media, and others are creating a ton of on-demand web video series at a fraction of the cost that networks like Scripps spend to produce similar programming. If Scripps shows don’t find their way online, viewers might just gravitate toward whatever programming is there. With that in mind, Scripps acquired video startup RealGravity to help bolster its networks’ online distribution.
In addition to Scripps TV Everywhere content, which will soon become available on Comcast digital platforms, the cable network also got rights to Scripps video-on-demand programming, which will take advantage of Comcast’s new interactive advertising capabilities.