Touring homes on your own time with Comcast

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Steve Schwartz, advertising manager for Comcast’s real-estate division, is a happy man these days. Last year’s launch of Comcast Real Estate On Demand through the Comcast Video On Demand (VOD) service has been a huge success.

Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, has been using the power of cable TV to reach out to local, regional and national advertisers for a while now. More than a year ago, the company made the decision to piggyback the real-estate industry onto this very effective tool.

Hence the creation of Real Estate On Demand, which enables the more than 1.2 million Comcast cable subscribers in the region to simply click the remote and tune to the Comcast home-shopping option on channel 888.

Real Estate On Demand services the 11-county Chicagoland area and Northwest Indiana, allowing Comcast subscribers to browse property listings and videos of local homes, townhouses, lofts and high-rise condominium developments on their televisions, according to Schwartz. Available all day, seven days a week, and at no additional charge, digital cable viewers simply press 888 and select “Real Estate” under the “Searchlight” menu. Viewers can pause, rewind, fast-forward and stop two-minute-long videos at their own convenience.

“On Demand offers a superior viewing experience for video features, showcases and property listings that cannot be misplaced or discarded like print advertising,” Schwartz says. “Also, Video On Demand provides a much more engaging environment for a consumer to learn more about a property.”

All properties and developments are displayed under different geographic zones, including regional zones within the city.

Property listings are mapped under “Home Listings” for general information. The listings also provide contact information for the home’s sales associate or Realtor.

The concept has taken hold in a big way in the development community, with Real Estate On Demand affording developers a more flexible and less costly means of promoting their products. What’s more, they can repurpose the presentations for use on their Web sites or complement the On Demand on-air product with online advertising through Comcast, the top-rated Internet service provider in the greater Chicago area.

More than two dozen new home, townhouse, loft and high-rise condominium builders and developers are promoting their projects on Real Estate On Demand in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana.

Scott Hoskins, president and managing broker of CMK Realty, is pleased with Comcast’s product.

“On Demand from Comcast provided CMK with the unique opportunity to utilize a media format that had previously been too costly to justify within our advertising budget,” he says. “We have realized excellent results from Real Estate On Demand – a measurable increase in qualified prospects and heightened brand awareness.”

As a result of the warm reception, Comcast will be expanding the real-estate product line this fall with the introduction of three new features. One category, “Million Dollar Homes,” will focus solely on homes priced at more than $1 million, with each presentation spotlighting a specific home.

Plans are also in the works to create subcategeories devoted entirely to retirement communities. Despite a weakened economy, Comcast plans to devote an On Demand category exclusively to second homes and vacation homes.

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