By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood February 22, 2012 at 12:28PM
Cable behemoth Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, has broken into the streaming platform business with its launch of Xfinity Streampix. StreamPix offers previous seasons of shows including "The Office," "Grey's Anatomy," "Lost," and "30 Rock," as well as such movies as "Brokeback Mountain," "Ocean's Eleven," "The Big Lebowski" and "When Harry Met Sally," with more titles planned.
Comcast negotiated deals with Disney, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. before StreamPix's launch. The LA Times writes that these won't "come close to the more than 14,000 titles available to stream from Netfix," a number that just got bigger with the recently announced Weinstein/Netflix deal.
GigaOM notes that Comcast, as part of its ongoing campaign to halt rampant cord-cutting (which TV Everywhere appears to have slowed), does not plan to make Streampix a stand-alone program -- in order to acquire Streampix, you must subscribe to Comcast's video services. Streampix will be complimentary to double-and-triple-play package subscribers. For Comcast customers with basic-cable packages, Steampix will cost $4.99 per month, a cheaper option when compared to Netflix's $7.99 monthly minimum. Initially, streaming will be available for PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone, with support for Xbox 360 and Android to come.
While it might not yet be a direct rival, the launch has already affected Netflix, with The NYT's MediaDecoder reporting Netflix’s stock fell 2.27 percent to $119.35, compared with a 52-week high of $304.79. In addition to Netflix, Comcast also aims to compete with Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime, which passed its one-year mark today.
This experiment could prove to be a savior for cable providers. Adweek writes that, so far, the TV industry has avoided competing with Netflix, because they would lose subscriber fees and advertising. If Streampix is a success, it "could help create a new model for cable companies losing money to cord-cutting consumers." (Here's Indiewire's take.)