Satellite providers like Dish Network and DirecTV are no strangers to live TV streaming services, with the two companies offering Sling TV and DirecTV Now, respectively. And now it seems that cable providers may also be keen on entering the market. Though the company has yet to confirm any plans to do so, it looks like Comcast may be considering a streaming service of its own, according to Bloomberg.
Sources familiar with Comcast’s current negotiations say that the company has acquired rights from cable networks allowing it to distribute their channels nationwide, not just in the regions in which it offers cable service. The company has done so mostly through contract clauses that allow it to sell channels in the same places as new online distributors like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now. This only gets Comcast part of the way, as Bloomberg’s sources say that the company would still need to secure streaming rights for rival broadcast networks like CBS and sports giant ESPN.
For now, it seems the company is treating this as a backup plan. While Comcast representatives have said the company doesn’t have specific plans to enter the OTT (over-the-top) market, streaming TV doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Three major providers already offer streaming TV, and both Hulu and YouTube are preparing live TV offerings that could eat into Comcast’s business.
“When you really try to evaluate the business model, we have not seen one that really gives us confidence that this is a real priority for us,” Matt Strauss, Comcast executive vice president for video services, said at a conference late last year. “There is significantly more upside and profitability in going deeper and deeper into our base first versus following a video-only offering OTT.”
While streaming TV may not be a priority for Comcast just yet, analysts say that it wouldn’t be tough for the company to enter the market. Whether or not this will change in the immediate future remains to be seen, but when Hulu and YouTube launch their live TV packages, Comcast may change its tune.
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