Taking a “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach, cable giant Comcast Corp. is launching a live-TV streaming service for $20 a month.
Dubbed “Now TV” and available only to Comcast
Xfinity internet subscribers, the service will offer more than 40 live-TV channels and more than 20 FAST (free, ad-supported streaming TV) channels, along with a free subscription to NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock (a $5-a-month value). The service also includes 20 hours of DVR storage and access to three concurrent streams.
Now TV will launch “in the coming weeks,” Comcast said Tuesday, and looks poised to compete with live-TV streaming services such as YouTube TV, Sling, Fubo TV and Hulu + Live TV. Though offering far fewer channels, at $20 a month the price is significantly lower than its rivals, and cheaper than Comcast’s lowest-priced cable plan.
“With content and connectivity at the core of our company, we are uniquely positioned to build and deliver streaming entertainment offerings unlike anything else out there today,” Dave Watson, President and CEO of Comcast Cable, said in a statement.
The cable-lite-like streaming package does has some drawbacks: It lacks live sports channels, such as ESPN, and local broadcast TV channels, and has few news options (no CNN, Fox News or MSNBC), though it does offer a BBC News channel and an NBC News FAST channel.
Among the channels it will offer: A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, Discovery, Food Network, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, History Channel, IFC, Lifetime, Magnolia Network, OWN, TLC, Vice and Weather Channel.
Comcast shares are up 15% year to date but down 6% over the past 12 months, compared to the S&P 500’s
8% gain in 2023 and 5% advance over the past year.