Apple is expected to introduce its streaming video service in just a few days, but the market is already incredibly crowded with other streaming services. Adding to that today is Comcast, which is launching its new Xfinity Flex Internet streaming TV service.
In other streaming news today, Motion Picture Association of America published its annual report on the state of the entertainment market. The report shows that streaming video subscribers increased by 27 percent in 2018 as more people become cordcutters without losing access to content.
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Comcast’s new Xfinity Flex service ties together paid Internet services like Netflix and HBO, while also integrating free ad-supported options. Instead of simply creating an app for existing set-top boxes, however, Comcast has developed its own streaming box.
Essentially, Comcast is targeting its Internet-only subscribers with this product. Those subscribers can pay $5 per month to “rent” one of the streaming boxes from Comcast. On that box, those users can access apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and HBO, as well as free ad-supported content from the likes of ESPN3 and Cheddar.
We’ve seen certain cable providers allow subscribers to “rent” Apple TVs as their set-top box of choice, but Comcast is taking a different approach with the development of its own hardware.
Comcast’s goal seems to be to remove the up-front cost associated with buying set-top streaming boxes, but whether or not it succeeds remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, the 2018 MPAA report was published today and includes some interesting tidbits on the state of the entertainment industry. According to the report, streaming video services added 131.2 million new subscribers worldwide. That brings the total subscription base to 613.3 million, which is up 27 percent compared to 2017.
As for cable subscriptions, that number fell by 2 percent to 556 million subscription. Cable subscriptions, however, continue to bring in more revenue than streaming services. As The Verge explains:
That said, despite that growth in streaming video and the small decrease in cable subscriptions, cable subscriptions still rake in the most money, increasing in 2018 by $6.2 billion to $118 billion. After cable subscriptions, satellite TV brings in the next highest amount of revenue, while streaming video comes in third. The report also notes that more Americans watch cable (80 percent) followed by streaming services (70 percent).
The full report from the MPAA can be viewed here.