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Why Comcast Is Launching a Sling TV Rival

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The broad launch of Xfinity Instant TV

Comcast (CMCSA) is planning to broadly roll out Xfinity Instant TV, its streaming video service that it’s been testing for a while in regional markets. This broad rollout is expected to begin toward the end of this quarter.

Xfinity Instant TV is aimed at Millennials who are running away from traditional pay-TV offerings. According to a study by Toluna, television viewing time among younger people has dropped significantly over the last few years. For example, people between the ages of 18 and 24 years now watch TV an average of 14 hours per week compared to 25 hours per week in 2011.

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Responding to shifting TV viewing habits

Xfinity Instant TV, which could cost consumers anywhere between $15 and $40 per month, will offer a variety of TV entertainment, depending on the bundle purchased. Xfinity Instant TV is expected to include local broadcast channels, premium channels, and DVR functionality.

With Xfinity Instant TV, Comcast is following in the footsteps of AT&T (T) and Dish Network (DISH), which have both responded to shrinking pay-TV subscriptions by launching Internet-based video services. AT&T has DirecTV Now, which it hopes to boost with content from Time Warner (TWX) after it acquires the media giant. Dish, on the other hand, has Sling TV.

Comcast’s video customer loss spikes

If Xfinity Instant TV turns out to be a success, it could help Comcast stem the loss of its video customers to rival online video services such as those offered by Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu.

Comcast shed 45,000 residential video customers in 2Q17, implying that its residential video customer loss more than doubled from a year earlier. The company also added fewer business video customers in the most recent quarter than it did a year ago.

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