By Evan DeSimone
Just over a month after announcing its streaming bundle Stream, Comcast is reportedly taking another step into the world of online video with the roll-out a service for both set-top boxes and the web.
The news, first reported by Business Insider suggests that Comcast will be making a multi-pronged attack on the digital space. The new service, which is already being called a YouTube rival, has reportedly been dubbed Watchable and is distinct from Stream, which targets cost-conscious millennial cord cutters.
Comcast is also reported to be lining up content partners to furnish original video for Watchable. Among them are millennial-friendly brands such as Buzzfeed and Vox, both of which just received major cash infusions from Comcast via its subsidiary NBCUniversal. Other brands expected to be on board for the launch of Watchable include Vice, The Onion, AwesomenessTV and Otter Media’s Fullscreen.
Comcast has been rumored to be developing its own online video service tied to its X1 set-top boxes for some time. The company didn’t confirm those rumors until last year with an announcement at the TV of Tomorrow expo in San Francisco.
While it’s been tight-lipped about its progress on the project, it appears Comcast has been sowing the seeds for Watchable for some time. In addition to investments in Buzzfeed and Vox and a rumored interest in Vice Media, Comcast has been cultivating relationships with digital content providers for years. As far back as 2013, Comcast contributed cash to Fullscreen’s Series A funding round. The internet giant has also shown an interest in generating ad revenue online, as demonstrated by its acquisition of digital ad tech firm Freewheel in 2014 for north of $360 million.
Comcast has yet to confirm any of the reported details of the new service. As of press time, inquiries to the Comcast press office have gone unreturned.