In yet another acknowledgement that OTT video is here to stay, Comcast announced this morning that it will start offering YouTube on its pay-TV platform later this year.
The latest integration move by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), a long-time fierce opponent of OTT video, comes half a year after North America's largest cable operator began integrating Netflix into its X1 set-top platform. And it comes just three months after Comcast announced that it would integrate Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s Sling TV service into the X1 platform as well. Financial terms of the YouTube deal were not disclosed. (See Comcast Binges on Netflix in New Beta and Comcast Co-opts Cord-Cutters With Sling TV.)
What the launch of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s popular YouTube service confirms is that major cable operators like Comcast are finally starting to see themselves as true video aggregators that will serve up video programming from anywhere, not just the broadcast/cable universe. The YouTube integration deal also shows that both cable operators and OTT providers see strong benefits to offering online video services over cable's highly managed proprietary networks, rather than the open public Internet.
As in the case of Netflix and Sling TV, Comcast plans to introduce an app for YouTube on its X1 set-tops later this year. That will instantly make YouTube available to nearly half of Comcast's 22.5 million video subscribers, enabling them to tap into YouTube without having to switch their input to another streaming device connected to their TVs. X1 customers will be able to browse and search YouTube's full library of video content, including hundreds of thousands of music video clips.
Comcast will also integrate select YouTube content into its Xfinity on-demand service, offering it alongside the MSO's own VoD line-up and online programming. Further, Comcast will integrate YouTube content into its X1 voice remote system, allowing subscribers to search for YouTube videos with voice commands.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading