Growth spurt for kids VOD

Comcast boasts record debut with PBS Kids VOD

NEW YORK — Comcast said it proved the emerging strength of video-on-demand last month when bowing PBS Kids Sprout on VOD months before the 24/7 channel will debut on traditional television.

According to Comcast chair-CEO Brian Roberts, Kids Sprout saw more than 4 million hits in April, making it the No. 1 free kids VOD category for Comcast “right out of the box.”

Roberts — hosting an investors conference in Philadelphia on Tuesday — reiterated that VOD is a service satcaster rivals DirecTV and EchoStar don’t offer and hence a key competitive advantage. VOD is only available to digital cable customers.

Top Comcast execs joined Roberts in briefing Wall Streeters on Comcast’s continued foray into advanced digital services, including high-speed Internet and phone service in addition to VOD.

Comcast chief operating officer Stephen Burke reaffirmed that the cabler will break from tradition and begin offering bundled phone and Internet service for $69 a month.

“We’ve been very hesitant to bundle, because it’s a code word for discounting,” Burke said, adding the company would bundle when the services function well together.