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RISMEDIA, Nov. 11, 2008-Nearly 100,000 Chicago-area Digital Cable customers are flocking to Comcast’s Real Estate On-Demand each month to tour new housing developments and resale home listings using their remote controls, and the viewing numbers are growing.

According to the company, Real Estate On-Demand viewership skyrocketed 59.3 percent to 102,118 views in June of 2008 from 60,590 views in the same month a year ago, reports a new viewing study by  Hyperion/Everstream.

Average monthly viewing rose 68.3 percent to 85,146 views per month in the second quarter of 2008, compared with 58,170 views per month in the second quarter of 2007. Real Estate On Demand was launched in 2007.

“This dramatic increase in views proves that more and more prospective home buyers in the 11-county Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana are tuning in each month to Real Estate On Demand for both new and resale housing choices,” said Steve Schwartz, Real Estate Division Advertising Manager for Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

All Comcast Digital Cable customers in the Chicagoland area can tune to Real Estate On Demand by selecting “8-8-8” on their remote controls, and then selecting “Real Estate.”

Real Estate On Demand lets Comcast Digital Cable customers browse video of local new and resale homes, townhomes, lofts and high-rise condominium developments and property listings on their television, according to Schwartz. Viewers can pause, rewind, and fast-forward two-minute-long videos at their own convenience, and there is no additional charge for the service.

All properties and developments are displayed under 10 different geographic zones-the City (subdivided by region), North, Northwest, West, South/Southwest and Northwest Indiana. Property listings are mapped under “Home Listings” for general information. The listings also provide information on the sales associate or Realtor to contact.

In addition, individuals who are selling their own homes can go to www.OnSearchlight.com and create their own economical video ad, for less than the cost of an average three-line newspaper ad.

Comcast Spotlight recently has added two new categories of housing-Retirement Living and Vacation Homes. “We also are planning to launch a new category called Million-Dollar Homes, which will feature luxury homes throughout Chicagoland,” Schwartz said.

“We have a unique and powerful way for developers, builders and realtors to reach our growing, highly qualified audience,” Schwartz said. “On Demand from Comcast is the only media opportunity in Chicago that can deliver this engaging and interactive platform,” Schwartz said.

“Add to the equation for our clients the ability to run commercials on premiere cable networks in very specific locations based on where their customers live, and we have the ultimate solution for them.”

Advertisers can complement their on-air presence with online advertising on Comcast.net, rated the number one Internet service provider in the greater Chicago area, according to Schwartz.

“The real estate category is looking for more cost-effective and measurable ways to market properties to bring buyer traffic to model homes, developments and open houses in a challenging market,” he said.

He added that traditional advertising is not as effective as it once was, and Comcast Spotlight’s multi-platform marketing packages meet sellers’ needs.

“Video on demand (VOD) is an exciting new way to showcase a development,” said Robert Haddon, Vice President/Partner of Firestar Communications. “It allows developers to finally harness the power of TV at an affordable price.”

VOD is helping major residential developers make the jump to television.

“Comcast Spotlight’s Real Estate On Demand service offers developers broadcast-quality video production in a ‘New Development’ folder. This video can include everything from marketing materials to a walk through of a model unit to finished product. The video can be repurposed and used on the advertiser’s web site or within their sales center,” said Haddon.

“It’s the next best thing to visiting a model,” Haddon said. “It also takes the pressure off home shoppers by letting them do all the looking from the comfort of their living room.”

Scott Hoskins, president and managing broker of CMK Realty Corp., said, “Real Estate On Demand from Comcast Spotlight provided CMK Companies with the unique opportunity to utilize a media format that had previously been too costly to justify within our advertising budget. We have realized excellent results from Real Estate On Demand-a measurable increase in qualified prospects and heightened brand awareness.”

Roger Gerstad of Gerstad Builders, said: “Real Estate On Demand is a high quality media production at a reasonable cost with flexibility to target different geographic markets. Marketing is becoming more high tech and the TV media program by Comcast appears to be attracting more home buyers.”

“Comcast Spotlight Real Estate On Demand service offers a superior viewing experience for Video Features, Showcases and Property Listings that cannot be misplaced or discarded like print advertising,” Schwartz said. “Also, VOD provides a much more engaging environment for a consumer to learn more about a property.”

Schwartz noted that the Real Estate On Demand has emerged very successfully. “In the initial months following the launch of New Developments, we have signed more than 25 developments,” he said.

“The cost of airing a two-minute video round-the-clock for a month is comparable to running a quarter-page ad just once in the newspaper,” Haddon said. “As a result, VOD will become a mainstay in real estate marketing.”

New home, townhome, loft and high-rise condominium builders and developers are promoting their projects and marketing homes and condominiums priced from $200,000 to $10 million on Real Estate On Demand in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

Chicago developers currently advertising on Comcast Spotlight include: CMK Companies; Centrum Properties; DK Equity; 474 Lake Shore Associates; Ricker Murphy Development; Chieftain Group; Holsten Real Estate Development; MCL Companies; Magellan; New West Realty; and Mesa Development.

Suburban developers currently advertising via Comcast’s On Demand service include: Gerstad Builders; Kirk Homes; Sho-Deen Homes; Town & Country Homes, Vanstrand Group; Robert Lord Builders; Optima; and MGM, along with such developments as Westbrook Condominiums and Wood Dale Station.

“We are running an aggressive advertising campaign promoting this feature for our customers,” Schwartz said. The campaign includes 30-second TV commercials on more than 60 networks, 30-second radio spots, and print ads in leading publications, and online banner ads.

For more information, visit www.comcastspotlight.com.

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