Comcast Readies YouTube Rival As It Seeks To Diversify Beyond Cable Distribution

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As cable cord-cutting accelerates, video content producers, advertisers and entertainment companies are looking to find ways to reach fleeing audiences, especially Millennials. Now entertainment conglomerate, ISP and cable TV provider Comcast is reportedly readying its own “over the top” digital video platform called “Watchable.”

The news was first reported by The Information, which says that most of the programming will be “short form.”

The full list of content provider-partners has yet to be determined. However Business Insider says the current list of partners includes “Vox and Buzzfeed, lifestyle, and comedy sites like AwesomenessTV, Refinery29, and The Onion, news sites like Mic and Vice, as well as legacy brands like NBC Sports.”

Younger US adults spend less time watching conventional TV than other groups

Source: Nielsen Total Audience Report (Q1 2015)

Verizon is also preparing its own mobile-centric video platform, according to Variety. Indeed, mobile is the center of the digital video revolution and is driving huge amounts of video consumption on YouTube, Facebook and other digital channels.

Business Insider argues that one of Comcast’s motivations, beyond trying to reach the YouTube generation, is to move beyond cable content licensing fees. The new model will be ad-revenue sharing, which will result in lower payments for Comcast. It will also be able to offer the more precise audience targeting of digital media to advertisers on the platform. (Digital video is the realization of the long-anticipated “addressable TV.”)

While success for Comcast is far from guaranteed the initiative seeks to complement traditional TV and, Humpty Dumpty style, put the broader TV audience back together again.

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