Comcast gives subscribers one more reason to quit Netflix

17 Comments

Updated. Comcast (s CMCSA) is rolling out a new streaming on-demand offering called Xfinity Streampix, which will bring more library content to subscribers that pay for its high-end double- and triple-play packages. For those who subscribe to more basic packages, the streaming service will be priced at $4.99 above their current rate.

Importantly, Comcast has no plans to make Streampix available as a standalone service: To get it, you must subscribe to both Comcast’s TV and broadband video services. That means so-called cord-cutters, or Internet-only subscribers, need not apply. But the Xfinity Streampix offering can be seen as a direct shot at streaming services like Netflix (s NFLX) and Hulu Plus.

Over the past few years, there’s been some debate about whether those services could be cable killers, but lately it’s been mostly accepted that they serve more as a complement to user’s existing pay TV services. Now, Comcast is making a good amount of similar content available through its own service, at a price that’s lower than the $7.99 those streaming services charge, and even giving it away to its highest-paying subscribers. That means Comcast subscribers could have less reason to pay for an additional streaming service.

Comcast will be launching the service later this week, adding thousands of movies and TV episodes to its already expansive library of streaming content available through XfinityTV.com and on its XfinityTV iPad app. To launch the service, Comcast has done deals with Disney, (s DIS) NBC Universal, (s GE) Sony Pictures, (s SNE) Warner Bros. (s TWX) and Cookie Jar (which does kids programming like Inspector Gadget and Paddington Bear).

While Comcast’s XfinityTV offering has always had recent episodes of broadcast TV shows through a distribution deal with Hulu and CBS, (s CBS) the new service will expand its library by making available older, back-catalog content. At launch, StreamPix content will include previous seasons of TV shows like 30 Rock, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, as well as movies such as Brokeback Mountain, Ocean’s Eleven and The Big Lebowski. A Comcast spokesperson told me that the company plans to add more titles as time goes on.

Comcast will also be making the service available on multiple screens: In addition to putting Streampix on the web and on its Xfinity iPad app, the titles will be on Comcast’s cable VOD platform. It’s also planning to expand availability to “additional screens and devices” as time goes on, which will include Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (s MSFT) and Android devices.

Update: An earlier version of the story said that subscribers needed both broadband and TV services, but they need only pay for TV.

17 Comments

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JazzyChuck

I suspect more people will discontinue their cable service and subscribe to both Hulu Plus and Netflix. The business model of traditional cable service is threatened by cloud-based services as those previously mentioned. Although I have no statistics, I believe there are more TV viewers who watch more on-demand services than live broadcasts. The expansive catalogue of tv programs, and the cheap monthly rates of Netflix and Hulu will force Comcast and the like to overhaul their business model. People have simply been paying too much for cable service, and are fed up with inept customer service- namely Comcast.

JazzyChuck

I suspect more people will discontinue their cable service and subscribe to both Hulu Plus and Netflix. The business model of traditional cable service is threatened by cloud-based services as those previously mentioned. Although I have no statistics, I believe there are more TV viewers who watch more on-demand services than love broadcasts. The expansive catalogue of tv programs, and the cheap monthly rates of Netflix and Hulu will force Comcast and the like to overhaul their business model. People have simply been paying too much for cable service, and are fed up with inept customer service- namely Comcast.

Rico

This should come free to current subscribers and be offered as a stand alone for those who want internet only. Doesn’t seem that big a deal otherwise.

Dennis D. McDonald

Jeez, another tier on top of what I’m paying for already? How about stopping me from having to subsidize Comcast sports channels when I never watch sports?

Michelle

I’m not going to lie, as one of those “so-called cord cutters”, the tone of this article is slightly insulting. Not much can beat my internet only subscription price of $50 for top tier plus a paltry $16/month for the HuluPlus/Netflix combo. I would subscribe to “top end” cable… why? After box fees, exhorbant taxes, and remote control fees, I was paying pretty close to an extra $100/month for cable “service”.

Roger

I used to be a satellite radio subscriber where there were two different companies pulling this stunt against each other. eg if you wanted Stern then you had to go Sirius. They divided up the sports between them. As a consumer it was terrible since it meant getting locked out of content, and ever increasing prices to pay for the exclusives, especially for content that I didn’t even want. It virtually killed both companies.

Feldman

I already pay close to $100 a month for internet only from Comcrap and that’s enough for this new service? Screw you Comcrap!

patrick

Oh my god almost 100 dollars. If you want the speed you have to pay. They have economy internet for 19.99.

Ric

I am forced unlawfully to support Comcast as my ISP and even the service hostage I am, I would shove my foot up their ass as far as it would go before I would even ponder giving them my 5 spot!

I dont watch their TV out of a sense disgust for their business practices and greed! But they corner the market and I have no alternative!

TardisCaptain

Comcast still doesn’t get it. I’m not paying $100+ (and now another $5 you want to add to that?) for this service when I can get it for $8 from Netflix. Plus Netflix has more content. And people wonder why cable companies are loosing subscribers in droves?

Bob

A shameless ploy to entice and charge current cable subscribers even more money not to cut cable. “Hey, look at what I’m getting by not rationalizing my sky high bill. The same re-tread content I already received in a different format. What a deal!” Desperate measures to counter the DVD/streaming only model.

Mathias S

This isn’t a reason to quit Netflix. You still have to be tethered to Comcast’s existing subscription service and it’s attached to other “bundles.” The “bundles” are what people don’t want. A la carte content selection is what consumers are asking for. No one wants 900 channels and a “Streampix” bundle when they only watch 3 shows on TV, sports, the news, and would like to see some movies on the weekend.

rick gregory

I can’t see the $3 difference as material to anyone and I doubt the people who pay the price for the higher brackets care about $ anyway. However… this starts to make me do the math on whether to move up from the Basic level or not. I guess to me it depends on what content the service has. New releases? Compelling? Duplicates Netflix? Not.

Me, I’m wondering when content owners jump in. I’d love to be able to get HBO content (download or streaming) but it means I need to move up several tiers in cable service and THEN pay the HBO fee. The combined cost of all of that to get HBO stuff means I don’t do it.

Tyler

Just doesn’t seem that impressive of an offering? I can only imagine their digital library will be 1/10th of Netflix’s… and you need to pay ON TOP of your $125/mnth cable bill? Cut the chord and spread your $125/mnth across Netflix + a few niche subscriptions e.g. NBA League Pass.

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