Reports over the weekend suggest Comcast’s planned YouTube competitor is just weeks away from launch. Sources speaking to Business Insider say a number of big-name partners have been signed up, including The Onion, Vice, NBC Sports, and (the Comcast-backed) BuzzFeed. Right now, it has the name Watchable, though that could change before it’s officially announced.
This isn’t the first time these rumors have surfaced, and we originally got wind that Comcast was building its own short-form digital video service back in May of this year. Its proposed deal to take over Time Warner Cable, a deal which was eventually blocked, seems to have slowed down the firm’s attempts to get its own YouTube off the ground to some extent.
Now, though, it’s all systems go. Business Insider says the upcoming platform is going to feature unlicensed, original video that’s available to stream on-demand to Comcast customers — it’s going to lean more toward the professional produced vlogs on YouTube rather than homemade cat videos. To begin with, Watchable will fit into the company’s existing Xfinity service, before eventually making its way to Android and iOS devices too.
Once the current roll out of Xfinity X1 boxes is completed, Watchable could have a potential audience of tens of millions of Comcast subscribers. It’s not quite the 1 billion users that YouTube boasts, but it’s a start. Publishers and marketers are reportedly keen to get their clips in front of an audience slumped in front of a smart TV rather than a computer.
There’s no doubt video content is now big business and getting bigger by the day — as Watchable proves, the lines between online on-demand video and traditional television hardly apply any more. Verizon is also said to be prepping a similar service due to launch at some point this year, and even Spotify is getting involved in the short-form video game.