Comcast on Tuesday announced the beta launch of Watchable, an app for professional short-form content, as it makes a play for a piece of digital advertising.
The service — an app and a stand-alone website, plus a tab on Comcast's X1 set-top box — will launch with about 30 online network partners, including Buzzfeed, Vox, Vice, Machinima, GoPro and Maker Studios.
Since Comcast believes that consumers will be spending a lot of time watching that kind of professional digital video, the service gives them an easy way to watch on their giant TVs. The move also makes it less likely that customers will cut the cord, and it gives Comcast a piece of the ad revenue. (There are now about 10 million X1 boxes in homes, and it's rolling out to 30,000 more daily.)
Watchable is also designed to be a win for the content companies, which Comcast points out haven't been easily accessible on the living room's big screen.
The cable and broadband giant says that while YouTube, Vimeo and increasingly Facebook are clearinghouses for all digital content — professional and amateur — this service is different in that it focuses entirely on professional short-form videos.