Comcast is gearing up to launch a video streaming platform to compete with YouTube and Facebook, Business Insider reports. The service will be called Watchable (though there’s a slight chance the name may change) and will initially be available to the company’s Xfinity X1 smart TV box users.
Comcast will be partnering with publishers like Buzzfeed, Vox, The Onion and NBC Sports (preliminary list, set to expand), who will provide all of their original content. The deal will be non-exclusive though, so they will be able to post on Facebook as well.
While the X1 boxes are currently in use by only a few million subscribers, Comcast is planning to replace all of its customers’ existing units to the X1 solution by 2017, thus providing tens of millions of outlets for video advertising. The service will eventually make the plunge into mobile as well, with iOS and Android devices making for an even wider target audience.
Since the publishers won’t be getting paid for the content, advertising will be the only profit-making mechanism, available to the publishers. It should be a pretty lucrative one nonetheless, considering that insiders put Comcast as the number one seller of video ads in the United States.