Looking to reduce churn by servicing the many disparate parts of its fragmented subscriber base, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is developing a YouTube-like (NASDAQ: GOOG) online video platform for its new X1 set-top boxes.
Speaking at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco Wednesday, Matt Strauss, senior VP of video for Comcast, told GigaOM that the pay TV company is looking to test the new platform by the end of the year.
As explained by Strauss, Comcast isn't looking for cute cats, bored teenagers and other works by amateur video makers, but rather professionally produced content--the kind YouTube itself has migrated to during the past two years.
As an example, he cited foreign TV programming, which would serve the various "expat" portions of Comcast's subscriber base. The limitations of QAM transmission technology make carrying these kinds of niche channels over cable networks impractical. However, as online video channels, Comcast could offer them in seemingly unlimited amounts.
Strauss told GigaOM that the underlying goal of providing this niche content is to reduce subscriber churn. However, with Comcast having purchased online video advertising specialist Freewheel for $360 million earlier this year, the possibilities for significant monetization also exist. Ditto, Comcast's desire to experiment with things like targeted advertising and other hallmarks of the personal television age.
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