Comcast Plans New Video Platform Fueled by Digital Media Investments

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

Called Watchable, the new service is said to be planned for later this year on Comcast's set-top boxes and through a mobile app.

Comcast is planning to launch a new service for free, over-the-top content, according to sources familiar with the company. 

The platform for ad-supported video will be called Watchable and will launch on its X-1 set-top boxes and via a mobile app. The cable giant plans to fill the new service with videos from online publishers such as Vox Media, which Comcast recently invested in through NBCUniversal, and BuzzFeed and YouTube networks including AwesomenessTV, Maker Studios and Fullscreen. 

These partners would offer Watchable unlicensed, original video that can be streamed on demand. Comcast would share advertising revenue with the publishers but would not pay to license the material.

Business Insider, which first reported about the service, noted that Watchable could launch in the coming weeks. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that a launch is not imminent. 

Watchable appears to be Comcast's effort to cater to legions of young people who are choosing to watch YouTube clips and other online videos instead of linear television. As an app on the X-1 box, the streaming content will live alongside Comcast's Xfinity, which offers on demand television shows and films.

Competitor Verizon is also prepping the launch of a new mobile video service that will include content from AwesomenessTV and others.

The move into the digital video space comes as Comcast has been investing heavily in the area. Through NBCUniversal, the company recently grew its stake in Vox through a $200 million investment and is also said to be investing in BuzzFeed. Though sources say plans for Watchable pre-dated the company's recent investments. 

A spokesman for Comcast declined to comment.