Yet another cable provider is ready to give video streaming a try. Cox Communications is set to launch a new streaming service called Flare MeTV before the end of the year, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company unveiled a new website for the service on Nov. 6.
To begin, Flare MeTV (gotta work on that name) will aggregate video content from across the web, but Cox spokesman Todd Smith told WSJ that it may carry licensed TV content in the future. Also subject to change will be its pricing. Initially, Flare MeTV will be an ad-free service offered at no cost, but Cox hasn’t ruled out converting it to an ad-supported or subscription model down the road.
As such, the service appears to be more like a placeholder in its current iteration, ready to roll with the punches if and when Cox wants to get more serious about bolstering a streaming venture that could theoretically compete for customers with traditional cable.
The app, which will be compatible with iPads to start, will provide users with personalized playlists that will be updated daily and include everything from breaking news to sports highlights to trending videos. Genre preferences will be selected by the user. Additionally, the app will enable viewers to browse for content available on other subscription services, such as HBO, Showtime, and Hulu.
Unfortunately for Texas residents, the service won’t be available there due to “legal and operational” matters, but those residing in other parts of the U.S. will be able to sign up.
The emergence of streaming has been one that cable providers have been wary of, even as a growing crowd of cord cutters attempt to push them in that direction. HBO, for example, has been very public about the resistance it has met in trying to team up with providers to sell its standalone streaming service, HBO Now. Flare MeTV does show a willingness to experiment with streaming, albeit with baby steps. WSJ likened Flare MeTV to Comcast’s Watchable and Verizon’s Go90, as both carry mostly content from web producers and only a limited selection of videos from TV programmers.
It’s clear that cable providers are still worried that providing coveted shows on streaming will cut into their core business: cable subscriptions. However, they also don’t want to be left behind in the continuously-evolving streaming landscape. If these experiments do pay off, we should see more desirable streaming offerings from cable providers in the future.