Comcast hosts new on-demand service
MGM is funneling its action movies and TV shows into a free video-on-demand service called Impact, which has just started on Comcast with 25 titles, including “The Terminator,” “Enter the Ninja” and “Windtalkers.”Jim Packer, co-president of MGM Worldwide TV, said the company has more than 1,000 shoot-’em-ups in its 4,000-title library, including the James Bond series, “The Magnificent Seven” and “RoboCop.” Comcast was the natural first outlet for Impact because the cable operator owns 20% of MGM and is more aggressive than any of its competitors in pushing VOD. Comcast offers more than 10,000 selections each month, at least 500 of which are cablecast in high definition. MGM will deliver many of the Impact titles in high def. MGM plans to rotate about 200 movies a year through Impact, scheduling some weeks with titles in specific genres including thrillers, crime melodramas, espionage films, Westerns, war pictures and martial-arts films. Next year, MGM and Comcast expect to broaden Impact beyond VOD into a website that will allow people with high-speed connections to stream the same movies onto their laptops at no cost. MGM HD, the company’s year-old 24/7 network, is off to a good start, engineering carriage deals with the two largest cable operators, Comcast and Time Warner; the biggest satellite distributor, DirecTV; and new Verizon video service FiOs. Mark Strauss, senior VP of new media for Comcast Cable, worked with Packer on the Impact deal.