Comcast Reportedly Taking on YouTube and Facebook with Rival Video Platform
By Chris Welch for The Verge
Not only is Comcast rolling out its own internet TV service, but the company also reportedly has bigger plans for an on-demand video service that would stream content from BuzzFeed, Vox Media, Vice, Mic, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, The Onion, and others. (Full disclosure: Comcast just announced a $200 million investment in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.) Business Insider says this in-the-works service is currently called Watchable, though the final brand may change. The Information first reported on Comcast’s plans to create a wide-reaching video service in April.
Like Stream, it sounds like Watchable will start out as an exclusive to Xfinity customers with a curated selection of video from Comcast’s partners. But Business Insider suggests that eventually it’ll be made widely available on Android and iOS. Content makers won’t have to exclusively keep their videos on Watchable — they’ll be free to publish on Facebook and YouTube at the same time.
There are positives for Comcast as well; the company won’t be paying out licensing fees for anything that appears on Watchable, but will split advertising revenue with its partners. That’s much different from the TV world, where Comcast must negotiate complex licensing terms with popular channels. The move allows Comcast to reach younger viewers who are less drawn to traditional cable, instead gravitating toward a new wave of internet creators and Vine / YouTube stars. Comcast wants to become another destination for those consumers. Verizon is trying to execute a similar strategy with Go90, its own upcoming on-demand video service that will mix programming from ESPN, Viacom, DreamWorks, CBS, and the NFL.