Comcast Gets Real

Looking to expand its real-world presence with consumers, Comcast Cable Communications Inc. signed a deal with electronics retailer Best Buy to push marketing of its high-speed Internet and digital cable TV services in the stores.

Beginning this month, customers visiting any of the more than 60 Best Buy stores in Comcast’s service area can use broadband interactive displays to preview Comcast’s high-speed Internet service, check availability to their home and sign up for the service.

In addition, Best Buy customers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will be able to order Comcast’s digital cable TV service from Best Buy’s digital TV display area.

Comcast Cable, the nation’s third-largest cable company and a unit of Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. earlier this week worked a deal with bankrupt ExciteAtHome to provision new high-speed Internet customers.

Financial terms of the Best Buy deal were not disclosed, but it seems evident that both companies stand to gain. Best Buy has more than 1,800 retail stores nationwide, in Puerto Rico and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Minneapolis-based Best Buy said the announcement “supports (its) larger strategy to offer consumers a choice in cable services and an opportunity to learn about and purchase the services they want at retail.”

In a recent survey of 1,000 people throughout the U.S., Best Buy said it found that more than half (57 percent) are “not very familiar” or “not at all” familiar with digital cable television service. An even higher number (67 percent) are “not very familiar” or “not at all” familiar with high-speed cable Internet access.

Comcast said that offering retail shoppers high-speed cable Internet and digital cable services “complements the cable industry’s more traditional, direct approach to reaching consumers.”

“Our agreement with an electronics leader like Best Buy complements our goal to make it easy for our customers to obtain these new services by making them available in the places they shop,” said Chris Caffrey, vice president of retail sales for Comcast.

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