Save your FREE seat for Streaming Media Connect this August. Register Now!

Comcast Said to Be Readying Online Video Service Called Watchable

Article Featured Image

Business Insider livened up a slow summer Friday with the story that Comcast is preparing an online video platform with the amusingly poor name of Watchable (Would you eat at a restaurant called Edible?). According to the report, which is so breathless and credulous that it seems to have been dictated by Comcast PR, Watchable will rival YouTube and Google.

That sounds pretty serious. How will Comcast pull this off? By licensing non-exclusive content from Vox and Buzzfeed (which Comcast recently invested in), as well as AwesomenessTV, Refinery 29, The Onion, Mic, Vice, and NBC Sports. Pretty exciting. Maybe YouTube and Facebook should just give up right now.

And how will viewers get this exciting nonexclusive content from platforms they probably haven't heard of? They'll stream it through their Xfinity X1 boxes. At some time in the future they'll also be able to stream it to their iOS and Android portable devices. Note that not all Comcast cable TV subscribers have X1 boxes: According to Business Insider, Comcast will switch out its subscriber's boxes for X1 boxes "over the next few years." By 2017, Watchable will be available in tens of millions of homes.

Once that happens, Comcast plans to rake in the green. Business Insider says that "publishers seem interested" in Watchable because it lets online-only brands get in front of TV viewers and "it's a potential big new revenue stream." Watchable will be a cheap for Comcast to operate, the article says, because it won't have to pay licensing revenue to partners.

The article ends by saying Comcast declined to comment on the story. Did it really?

Watchable is clearly a sad non-starter from a cable company desperately trying to adapt to the preferences of online video viewers. It's a sad idea and it's sad to see tech news sites—such as Engadget, which calls it a "YouTube rival"—giving it so much credence. Watchable shows that Comcast execs still don't understand streaming video's appeal. Look for Watchable to sink like a stone.

Streaming Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues
Related Articles

Comcast Talks Xfinity Instant TV, Which May Appear Later in 2017

A revamped version of the company's Comcast Stream service could go for $15 per month, but top execs are skeptical about OTT.

Comcast Hit With FCC Complaint Over Net Neutrality Violations

Public Knowledge has filed a complaint alleging that Comcast is violating its own merger agreement and the FCC's Open Internet rules.

Comcast Debuts Watchable, Offering Videos From Top Web Creators

Free and ad-supported, Watchable bundles online video originals and streams them to mobile, desktop, and living room viewers.

Comcast Announces Stream, OTT Service for the Young and TV-Less

The cable and pay TV giant goes after cord-nevers with a low-priced streaming offering, but its many limitations ensure it will have a hard time standing out among the competition.

Comcast Expands X1 Cloud DVR Service to Bay Area

Subscribers in eight markets can now stream cloud DVR recordings to any device, or watch live content at home on any device.

Comcast Quietly Launches New CDN, Focuses on Last Mile Delivery

Targeted to medium- and large-size content owners, Comcast's CDN comes with a strong SLA and reasonable prices for delivering over the last mile