You can tell Valentine's Day is on its way. All kinds of companies are jumping on the bandwagon with their metaphorical hearts and flowers -- even ones you might not expect. For example, Comcast
So now, not only can customers watch Comcast programming whenever they want with the click of a button, but also some of them can also demand video of singles selling themselves -- figuratively speaking, of course. The program first rolls out in Philadelphia and Chicago. In the spring, the Baltimore, Washington, Denver, and Portland, Ore., markets will join.
According to Comcast's press release, "Dating on Demand is the next wave of dating ... video on demand is changing the way people watch television, and now it's changing the way to meet people. With Dating on Demand, viewers can see the 'real' person -- how they speak, learn, what they're interested in, and what they're looking for in a date."
The human desire to meet a compatible partner has been a solid financial opportunity for some companies that provide dating solutions. After all, the online dating craze, which I explored last summer, revved up pretty fast, although it seems to have already hit its peak, as recent numbers have suggested the industry is slowing. Meanwhile, it's no secret that the space for hook-'em-up services has become a crowded one indeed.
But I can argue that Comcast's service doesn't really provide that much more of a value-add compared with lots of its competitors, such as privately held eHarmony, InterActive's
On the other hand, Comcast's move does underline the continued convergence between various modes of media and communication -- and we all know that Comcast has been stomping into all sorts of industries, even providing digital phone service. Poor TiVo
I find the idea of televised profiles more than a little creepy. Although Comcast's latest move strikes me as odd, maybe it's an indication of things to come, as television and the Internet increasingly meld the ways through which we are entertained and even conduct our social lives.
Comcast investors might be gratified to know that it's coming up with new ways to tap additional revenue streams from its cable customers. Whether it will strike out in some of these attempts, of course, remains another question.
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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.