Comcast Brings YouTube to the Living Room

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.

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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

kq4ym 3/6/2017 | 3:25:07 PM
Re: Smart Move I do watch lots of stuff through Roku and until lately didn't bother with watching YouTube there as the interface is a bit clunky and easier to use on a computer. But, I've found more and more free programming that just looks better on a big screen and maybe YouTube is figuring that they can follow everyone else and get a few bucks here and there from folks wanting to pay a bit for more specialized content without ads?
Michelle 2/28/2017 | 9:59:53 PM
Re: YouTube on the big screen again! @joe you here all week?

You can't just use an app like with a Roku box?
KBode 2/28/2017 | 10:49:46 AM
Re: Comcast and YouTube "Wow! Miracles do happen. Comcast is really making waves."

I'm not sure it's quite "making waves" to bring YouTube to a set top box in 2017, but it is a welcome shift toward inclusiveness for sure.
freehe 2/27/2017 | 8:12:41 PM
Re: Smart Move @Alison_ Diana, I agree. I am not inclined to watch YouTube on my TV. I would much rather watch YouTube on my laptop on smartphone. When I watch TV I want to watch it on a TV. When I watch to watch videos I want to watch them on a portable device. I know their is a demographic that wants that feature but I am not part of that group.

freehe 2/27/2017 | 8:09:51 PM
Comcast and OTT Comcast embracing OTT is a smart move and it is long overdue. It took them a long time to realize that OTT is a profitable business but at least they finally did. Hopefully they will be able to acquire new customers through offering OTT. Now if they could just improve their customer service for cable and internet subscribers.

freehe 2/27/2017 | 8:06:36 PM
Comcast and YouTube Wow! Miracles do happen. Comcast is really making waves. I am shocked but happy too since I am a Comcast subscriber.
Joe Stanganelli 2/27/2017 | 6:37:11 PM
YouTube on the big screen again! I applaud the move if only because I haven't been able to find the Apple TV remote for about two months now.  :/
Alison_ Diana 2/27/2017 | 3:34:46 PM
Smart Move As you say, Alan, OTT is not going away and this latest move by Comcast to embrace -- versus ignore -- that fact is smart business and good for consumers. Having had a smart TV for several years, I can count on one hand the number of times we've used it to access YouTube (or other sites) because they're a bit of a trial to get to. I mean, in the scheme of life, it's not a huge hassle -- but if I'm just going to watch a video clip, then it's much simpler to do so on a phone or tablet. This could be good news to YouTube content creators, as well, perhaps.
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