Comcast unveils movie-TV hub Fancast.com
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Comcast Corp on Tuesday launched Fancast.com, a one-stop movie-television hub where viewers can watch more than 3,000 hours of TV shows, movie trailers and short videos, check show listings, and dive into a comprehensive actor database.
The Web site by the largest U.S. cable operator will also point fans to where they can watch any show, be it on television, online, On Demand, DVD or in theaters.
The site is the first to gather film and TV offerings scattered all over the Internet on such a large scale, thanks to agreements with content owners such as CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Hulu.com, which is owned by NBC Universal and News Corp's Fox Network.
Data partners include Amazon.com Inc's IMDB, one of the Web's most popular movie information sites.
"We want to help consumers find content wherever they go," Sam Schwartz, executive vice president of Comcast Interactive Media, said in an interview ahead of a presentation at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
"Anything's that's been on at the movie theater or on television is fair game to us."
If it proves popular, Fancast could help drive up Internet traffic for Comcast, which in May forecast generating at least $1 billion in online advertising over the next five to six years as it cultivates new revenue sources.
Comcast said it has licensing deals for more than 50,000 television shows, 80,000 movies and information on 1.2 million actors, directors, and other movers and shakers in the entertainment industry for Fancast.
Content from Hollywood studios, broadcast and cable networks including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc, Sony Pictures Television, USA, Bravo, SciFi and BBC are available on the site, which is updated daily.
A feature on the site called "Six Degrees" allows users to explore connections between TV shows, movies, cast and crew.
Comcast plans to move some Fancast features to the set-top box so a TV viewer could, for instance, check up-to-date information about an actor in a show they are watching.
A proposed feature would allow users to program their digital video recorders later this year.
The new site is the most ambitious of Comcast's online content efforts since the creation of its Interactive Media Unit in December 2005. So far, the company's launches have included online video site Ziddio.com and GameInvasion.net, and it bought movie ticket site Fandango last year.
Fandango and Fancast will be closely integrated, according to executives.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Richard Chang)
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