Media giant Comcast is attempting to adapt to the shifting landscape by launching a new “instant TV” streaming service aimed at the coveted millennial cable cutter market. Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts revealed the plans while on a conference call to discuss Comcast’s second quarter earnings report. The service will reportedly be called “Xfinity Instant TV” and will serve as a direct competitor to Dish Network’s Sling TV service and the popular DIRECTV NOW owned by AT&T. Comcast is expected to launch Xfinity Instant TV sometime in the second half of 2017.
Details about the fledgling streaming television package are still scarce, but it is expected that Xfinity Instant TV will offer live streams of popular broadcast networks and sports channels and even some Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision. Previous reports stated that Comcast was eyeing a price point of $15 a month for the service with optional upgrades boosting the price up to $40 a month, but Comcast for now is stating only that they are testing various models of pricing. Comcast previously toyed with the idea of a streaming television service with Comcast Stream, a skinny bundle that included premium networks, a built-in DVR, and some local content, but the service has yet to take hold.
Comcast provides broadband and television coverage to more than 50 million homes in the U.S. including some of the biggest markets like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington D.C. but has been losing customers lately due to the rapid and unstoppable growth of streaming video. If the net neutrality debate goes the way of the corporate conglomerates looking to do away with neutrality protections, households in those markets might suddenly find themselves with Xfinity Instant TV as their only cable-cutting solution (Comcast, after all, has been playing dirty in its efforts to sway Congress in its favor). If that doesn’t happen – and let’s hope it doesn’t – Xfinity Instant TV looks like it could still be an affordable cable cutting package for many households.