Facing declining cable subscriptions, Comcast is launching a streaming TV service.
The service, Stream, includes broadcast networks and HBO for $15 per month – the same price as HBO’s own streaming service, HBO Now. Crucially, it’s only available for Comcast subscribers.
Stream marks a step forward from Internet Plus, a similar effort Comcast launched in 2013. While Internet Plus was a box for TV sets, Stream can be used on tablets, computers and other Internet-enabled devices.
Comcast’s Internet subscribers overtook video subscribers for the first time in Q2, reflecting the fact that viewers are moving online for entertainment. Last year, the number of American households with broadband service but not TV surged 16% to 10.7 million.
But as viewers have drifted towards digital, Comcast has moved with them. With nearly 150 million unique visitors, the company is one of the top 30 multiplatform digital properties in the U.S., according to L2’s Intelligence Report: Media Winners & Losers. Few cable companies have been able to compete with Comcast’s multiplatform success, although competitors have launched similar options to Stream, like Cablevision’s “cord cutter” package, which includes Internet service, a digital TV antenna and optional streaming HBO.
Further evidence of Comcast’s commitment to digital can be found in its annual earnings statement. The L2 study analyzed the 10Ks of major Old Media companies and found that Comcast ranked second when it came to mentions of key technology terms.
Comcast has broadened its digital reach through acquisitions, such as by buying digital video ad-server Freewheel last year. Moves like this can help the company compete across platforms as the rise of streaming brings increased competition for viewers.
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