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Comcast Turns Off Streampix

Mari Silbey
9/26/2014

Streampix will stream pix no more, officially becoming a casualty of the US subscription video-on-demand wars.

In a filing this week with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (hat tip DSLReports), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) declared that it's winding down its Streampix over-the-top video offering. Citing minimal interest from subscribers, Comcast said "both the site and the app are being decommissioned, and the standalone offer was discontinued. Going forward, the Streampix service will simply be part of the Xfinity TV app and website, like other VoD offerings."

Comcast launched Streampix in 2012, but its marketing of the $4.99-per-month OTT service has been relatively light. The company also hasn't matched the competition with its Streampix video catalog, and according to user reports, the online library has only grown weaker over time. If Comcast was trying to out-Netflix Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), it's clear that the strategy simply didn't work.

The cable giant may not be alone either. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) hasn't released numbers on its Redbox Instant by Verizon streaming service, but there are indications that subscriber numbers are low. In May, The Wall Street Journal suggested that Verizon not only hasn't been successful in its joint venture with Redbox Automated Retail LLC , but also that the company has no clear strategy for righting that particular ship. (See Redbox Falls Flat in Streaming Space.)


Keep up with the latest in OTT video developments on our dedicated ott video content channel here on Light Reading.


Despite such ominous signs, there are still other operators who are trying to make streaming services successful. Only last month, Canada's two largest pay-TV providers -- Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) and Shaw Communications Inc. -- announced that they will launch a new online VoD service called shomi for C$8.99 per month. In the US, Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) has promised a new OTT offering before the end of the year, and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has teamed up with The Chernin Group to invest in several online video companies, including the YouTube Inc. channel Fullscreen and Demand Media Inc. 's Creative Bug. (See Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix and AT&T Joins OTT Video Parade.)

One big question that emerges as Comcast wraps up the Streampix venture is whether the cable company would ever be willing to do a carriage deal directly with Netflix. Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) was apparently in talks to carry the Netflix service on its set-top boxes, but those discussions were put on hold when Comcast announced its intent to acquire TWC earlier this year. However, since that time, several mid-sized US cable operators have added Netflix as a set-top video app, including Atlantic Broadband , Grande Communications and RCN Corp. (See Comcast-TWC Deal Stalls Netflix Cable Push and Netflix Streams Onto US Cable.)

Netflix is formidable as a foe, and there may be something to that old adage: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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ITProjec39942
ITProjec39942
10/7/2016 | 2:57:00 AM
ISP-driven OTT services
wow, These ISP-driven OTT services never seem to take off because to succeed, they require that you're willing to disrupt on price. Why would lowongan kerja any company that has convinced people to pay $100+ per month
smkinoshita
smkinoshita
9/29/2014 | 12:47:34 PM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
@KBode - I barely watch TV and I don't watch a lot of movies, but I haven't heard anyone I know using any alternatives to Netflix.
KBode
KBode
9/29/2014 | 11:02:37 AM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
I cut the cord some time ago so for me it's a replacement for traditional TV, even though I need to use multiple services (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Roku, Plex) to get anywhere close. Then again I watch perhaps less television and am less interested in much of the mainstream fare than others may be.

Yes, I think Netflix's catalog is too small to be an honest replacement for most people's cable connections (or DVRs), and instead just acts as a supplement. Comcast had hoped to replace that supplement with a supplement of their own, though clearly it wasn't cooked quite well enough.
kq4ym
kq4ym
9/29/2014 | 10:57:10 AM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
Trying to outwit Netflix mightk be a steep uphill climb. And take the typical cable subscriber's disdain for Comcast, et. al. service, it's not easy to get those extra monthly subscription fees into the bank with any success it seems.
brooks7
brooks7
9/29/2014 | 10:37:39 AM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
Kbode,

Question to you.  I have always viewed my Netflix subscription not as a replacement for Broadcast TV but as a replacement for my VoD and DVR.  I can see binge viewing of The Wire or Breaking Bad as a unique behavior, but I still don't see it replacing the laundry list of channels.

How about you?

seven

 
KBode
KBode
9/29/2014 | 9:48:53 AM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
Have you found that any of the "me too" over the top options in Canada are worthy alternatives to Netflix?
smkinoshita
smkinoshita
9/29/2014 | 1:48:58 AM
Re: ISP-driven OTT services...
@KBode -- can't speak on behalf of Rogers, but in Canada we don't have a whole lot of options when it comes to providers and so Rogers might just be doing anything to keep the market share from Bell, its primary competitor.  
KBode
KBode
9/26/2014 | 1:44:22 PM
ISP-driven OTT services...
These ISP-driven OTT services never seem to take off because to succeed, they require that you're willing to disrupt on price. Why would any company that has convinced people to pay $100+ per month for hundreds of unwatched channels want to threaten those revenues by offering something with more flexibility at a lower price?
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