With cord-cutting at an all-time high, Comcast is introducing a new streaming subscription option to keep broadband customers in the video fold.
On Tuesday, Comcast announced Now TV, a new streaming offering that includes more than 40 live cable entertainment channels from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Hallmark and Warner Bros. Discovery — but no local broadcast TV or sports channels — plus 20-plus integrated free, ad-supported television (FAST) channels from NBC, Sky and Comcast/Charter’s Xumo Play. In addition, Now TV includes a bundled subscription to Peacock Premium with ads.
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Now TV will be available to Comcast’s Xfinity Internet customers within the next few weeks, priced at $20 per month. By comparison, Xfinity TV’s Popular TV package, with 125-plus channels (including local channels and sports networks) costs about $50-$60/month depending on market. Now TV does not require an additional set-top box and lets customers sign up or cancel at any time.
At launch, Now TV Live and Xfinity Stream’s FAST channels will be accessible through the Xfinity Stream app on supported devices, including Xfinity Flex, Amazon’s Fire TV, iOS- and Android-powered devices, and via casting through Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.
According to Comcast, it developed Now TV “to meet the needs of the value-conscious consumer who wants an entertainment product that is simple and convenient with quality programming movies, top shows, live sports and news.”
“With content and connectivity at the core of our company, we are uniquely positioned to build and deliver streaming entertainment offerings unlike anything else out there today,” Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said in announcing the service.
Comcast, the largest pay-TV provider in the U.S., dropped 614,000 video customers in Q1 — the most of any single company — to stand at 15.53 million at the end of the period. Asked about dwindling video business on the company’s earnings call, Watson acknowledged the reality of cord-cutting and said the operator’s approach is “to not subsidize unprofitable video relationships.” He added, “We’ll fight hard, whether it’s acquisition, base management or retention. So it’s important to us, but we have figured out a way to manage it financially.”
The Now TV lineup includes:
Now TV Live: More than 40 cable channels including A&E, Afro, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC News, Comedy.TV, Cooking, Crime + Investigation, Discovery, Discovery Life, Food Network, FYI, Great American Family, Great American Living, Get TV, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, The History Channel, Investigation Discovery, IFC, Justice Central, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Magnolia Network, Military History, MotorTrend Network, OWN, Pursuit, Recipe.TV, Science Channel, Sony Movies, Sundance TV, TLC, Travel Channel, Vice, WEtv and Weather Channel. The service is accessible through the Xfinity Stream app and includes 20 hours of DVR storage and access on three concurrent streams.
Peacock Premium: Original series, movies next-day access to all new shows from NBC and Bravo, library content, live news and more than 5,000 hours of live sports. Peacock Premium, which includes ads, is regularly priced at $4.99/month.
FAST Channels: More than 20 free ad-supported streaming TV channels including NBC News NOW, Sky News and the following genre-based channels from Xumo Play: Action Movies, Black Cinema, Bollywood & Indian Cinema, Comedy Movies, Comedy TV, Crime TV, Documentaries, Drama & Action TV, Family Movies, Food TV, Movies, Game Shows, Her Movies, Horror & Thriller, Kids TV, Reality TV, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies, Travel & Lifestyle TV and Westerns.
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