Comcast is planning to overhaul its streaming service Stream by giving it a new name and a new business model. According to Reuters, the company will change the name to Xfinity Instant TV, and the service will be accessible in all areas in the U.S. where Comcast is available.
Who will be the target customers for the streaming service?
On major broadcast networks, it could be available for as little as $15 per month. For subscribers opting for additional channels such as ESPN, the cost could go as high as $40 per month.
Viewers’ habits are evolving, making it mandatory for the company to make suitable changes to its video offerings. There are many high-speed Internet subscribers who are either incapable or unwilling to pay for the high-priced bigger cable bundles, and they will be the target customers for Comcast’s Xfinity Instant TV, notes Reuters.
Comcast will be hoping that over a period, they will eventually be interested in upgrading to Comcast’s X1 platform.
What about net neutrality?
Comcast subscribers will likely not be charged against internet data caps. This will be great not just for them, but for the company as well, giving it an edge over rivals that charge usage in excess of data caps. This will violate net neutrality, but only in concept, not in law, notes The Verge.
The company has long been accused of violating net neutrality laws by favoring its own service. In its defense, the company always says that its streaming service is not an internet service, so it doesn’t violate net neutrality. But the reality is that the service works similarly to streaming TV services by passing through a broadband modem, requiring a mandatory internet subscription, etc.
Comcast aims to remain a leader in video business
Comcast, like many other cable TV operators, can carry networks such as CBS and AMC Networks within its coverage area, including its home base of Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington and Boston. But once it acquires national rights, it will be able to make its service available in New York and Los Angeles as well, notes The Street.
In the past, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that the company would make attempts to secure national rights from other network content owners.
“While we, like Comcast, don’t see out-of-footprint video as an attractive business opportunity, we think Comcast is preparing to remain a leader in the video business by at least charting a path to achieving national scale (and perhaps international scale),” says Deutsche Bank media analyst Bryan Kraft.