The line between TV and online video is blurring still further, as Comcast has announced that it is adding short-form online video content from 30 broadcast and cable TV networks to its X1 platform and online at Xfinity.com. The beta launch means that millions of X1 customers will be able to surf the Web tab of the On Demand section on X1 to access the clips.
I took a quick spin through this on my X1 and found that the clips were sorted into categories such as “Trending on the Web,” “Latest News,” “Sports News” and “Latest News by Network.” Interestingly, Comcast has chosen to list these categories below several categories of short videos under the Watchable brand, which Comcast launched on Sept. 29th and solely includes online-only content brands (e.g. BuzzFeed, Maker Studios, Vice, Vox, etc.).
In the new section I saw videos from a subset of the 30 networks Comcast named as partners, including, ABC News, Al Jazeera America, CNBC, ESPN, E!, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports, NBC News and The Weather Channel.
In addition to the above, the full list of partners includes A&E, AMC, American Heroes, Animal Planet, BBC America, Big Ten Networks, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery, Discovery Life, DIY, Esquire Network, Food Network, FYI, HGTV, History, IFC, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, LMN, MSNBC, Music Choice, NBC, OWN, Science Channel, Sundance TV, TLC, Travel Channel, Velocity and WE TV.
Between Watchable and the new short-form initiative, Comcast is continuing to meld online content into the X1 experience. However, I haven’t seen any ads running against this content, which suggests it’s all still somewhat experimental and not yet viewed as a bona fide monetization opportunity by any of the parties.
Still, these initiatives show the power of the X1 platform to incorporate new forms of content. I continue to believe the highest impact X1 content initiative Comcast could pursue would be to integrate the major OTT providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others which tens of millions of subscribers access, currently via connected TV devices. X1 would streamline access and add value through universal search.