Comcast launches beta version of ad-supported Watchable video service

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has introduced a beta version of its new ad-supported short-form video service, Watchable.

The service is available for free, without a Comcast subscription, for users of Apple iOS mobile devices, and is also viewable on the watchable.com site as well as Comcast's X1 video platform.

The service will launch with 30 content partners, including AwesomenessTV, Buzzfeed, CelebTV, Collective Digital Studio, Defy Media, Discovery Digital Networks, Fast Company, Flama, Future Today, GarageMonkey, GoPro, Jukin Media, Machinima, Maker Studios, Mashable, Mic Media, NBCUniversal, Network A, Newsy, The Onion, POPSUGAR, Red Bull, Refinery29, Scripps Networks Interactive, Tastemade, TEN, TYT Network, Vice, Video Detective and Vox.

"Over time, we'll add additional network partners, make the experience more personalized and include new options to share content with friends," said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast Cable in TV, in a company blog post.

Although Comcast is seeking to serve the same millennial-aged audience as Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is with its just-launched Go90 mobile video service, the MSO is not curating programming that is exclusive to its platform. In fact, many of the creators found on Watchable are also viewable on YouTube.

"We think Watchable can be a unique place that curates and distributes the best content from some of the most recognized brands and producers on the web," Schwartz said. "Plus, many of our Watchable partners have not traditionally had distribution on the TV and we can give them a path to reach new audiences and further monetize their content on the biggest screen in the home."

Schwartz described Watchable as being somewhat of an experiment. 

"As the video industry continues to evolve, Comcast will continue to experiment," he said. "We'll continue to make investments in new media, create different ways for people to watch the movies and shows they love and test offerings that have the potential to attract new audiences."

Notably, Comcast is offering creators a 75 percent cut of ad revenue, which soundly beats the 45 percent offered by YouTube. 

For more:
- read this Comcast blog post
- read this Variety story

Related articles:
Variety unearths Web-based demo of Comcast's upcoming 'Watchable' online video platform
Comcast job posting points to development of YouTube-like portal
Comcast's secret online video plans compete directly with TWC, merger opponents tell California regulators

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