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According to Fierce Cable, Comcast may attempt to use group discounts similar to those marketed by Groupon and LivingSocial to sell movies on its Xfinity On Demand platform the same day they are released in theaters, according to a U.S. Patent application obtained by FierceCable. Read more: Comcast eyes Groupon approach to day-and-date VOD movie sales.
Comcast outlines a strategy that would rely on marketing paid VOD movies through social networks and group discount offers, explaining how it would be able to alter the price of an on-demand movie based on the number of viewers who agree in advance to buy it.
"In a single tier discount system, the one or more media content may be offered at $7 if 500 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer. In a double tier discount structure, the one or more media content may be offered at $6 if 800 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer and $7 if 500 end users or content consumers have accepted the media content offer," Comcast states as an example cited in the application.
Comcast says it may be able to use the approach to sell access to theatrical releases before they are released widely in movie theaters. "The time of release for the recipient group (e.g., individuals registered with a particular service) may be a time prior to the theatrical release date or time of a movie, such as a pre-release date, and the time of release for the general public may be the theatrical release date of a movie," Comcast wrote.
Groupon (a portmanteau derived from "group coupon") is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Launched in November 2008, and the first market for Groupon was Chicago, followed soon thereafter by Boston, New York City, and Toronto. By October 2010 Groupon served more than 150 markets in North America and 100 markets in Europe, Asia and South America and had 35 million registered users. In April 2010, the company was valued at $1.35 billion.