Smart Screen

Comcast, FX Partner on New, Ad-Free, 4K-Enabled Offering

Comcast will be making another ad-free service available to its Xfinity TV subscribers as an optional pay service, as part of a deal with Fox’s FX Networks, the companies announced Aug. 7. The new service, FX+, will eventually include select 4K Ultra High-Def (UHD) content, according to the companies.

Comcast and FX Networks will launch FX+ Sept. 5 at $5.99, the companies said in a news release, noting the service will include commercial-free current seasons of every FX and FXX original series, as well as every season of “many current and legacy library titles of FX originals.” That sees FX becoming “the first ad-supported cable portfolio to offer all seasons of the majority of its original series library,” according to the announcement.

FX+ will feature more than 1,100 episodes of shows spanning the past 15 years, including “American Horror Story,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “The Shield” and “Sons of Anarchy,” the companies said.

Because of the large number of episodes in the FX library, the shows “will be rolled out over a period of time and it’s expected that the complete FX+ roster will be available in 2018,” they said. FX+ subscribers will be able to access the FX+ content via Xfinity On Demand, the Xfinity Stream app and web site, and the FX NOW app.

“In the future,” FX+ will also offer select series in 4K UHD resolution, as well as temporary downloads of current season episodes, according to the announcement. The companies didn’t elaborate on the timing in their announcement and didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This is an exciting day for FX Networks, because it represents the next step in building a consumer experience as good as our original programming brand,” FX Networks CEO John Landgraf said in the news release.

He added: “We have been diligent about recapturing the in-season stacking rights for all current original programming and recapturing the rights to all seasons of a large portion of our legacy of great original series.” The initiative “represents the first of its kind for an ad-supported cable network, and begins to put us on equal footing with premium networks and streaming services,” he said.

Comcast’s “platforms and technology enable us to collaborate with our partners to experiment with new ways to super-serve our customers, provide them with more choice and access to new content and experiences, and continue to add value to the Xfinity TV subscription,” Matt Strauss, EVP and GM of video and entertainment services for Comcast Cable, said in the announcement.

Comcast previously made the AMC Premiere ad-free service available to its subscribers at $4.99 a month. That service featured current seasons of AMC TV shows including “The Walking Dead,” along with some prior AMC shows’ seasons and exclusive content.