Comcast pulls back on OTT platform Watchable


Comcast has confirmed that it will no longer be producing original content for its OTT platform Watchable and is looking to dramatically downsize the two-year-old platform. 

“We are taking our learnings, among others, and shifting the strategy for Watchable to focus on integrating the content within our Xfinity TV platforms, notably X1 where we saw the greatest amount of engagement and organic discovery,” said Jamie Gillingham, VP of strategic development at Comcast, in a statement. “Also, we created new technologies for managing and consuming content for Watchable that we are now using in other parts of the business.”

Speaking to a Watchable content partner, Digiday reports that Comcast may stop short of absolutely shutting down the platform. 

“They are shutting down the originals part of Watchable,” said a Watchable content partner. “It sounds like, for now, it will remain as an ad-supported platform for the distribution partnerships they already have.”

RELATED: Comcast launches beta version of ad-supported Watchable video service

Watchable launched two years ago 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.

In addition to no longer funding original content, Digiday reports that Comcast is still deciding what to do with the Watchable staff—their contracts expire at the end of the month. Comcast may reassign those workers to different assignments within the company. 

As Digiday noted, Comcast’s ambitions for Watchable never equaled those of Verizon’s Go90, another short-form video platform aimed at millennial audiences. But Comcast did commission about 30 short-form video series for the platform.