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Comcast Launches YouTube Across X1 Cable Set-Tops Nationwide

Comcast is now offering billions of YouTube videos on its Xfinity X1 system — slotting the internet videos into the same menu as other cable TV programming, as well as Netflix.

The cable operator is launching YouTube on X1 across its U.S. footprint, providing access to YouTube videos using the X1 voice-enabled remote. The YouTube app is located in the “Apps” and “Networks” sections of the X1 guide, and Comcast also will feature YouTube content through the Xfinity on Demand VOD section. Under the deal between Google and Comcast, originally announced earlier this year, no money is changing hands.

Comcast is embracing its role as “the aggregator of aggregators” by adding access to YouTube content for no additional charge to X1 customers, according to Matt Strauss, EVP of Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable.

“Giving our customers seamless access to live, on demand and internet content in one place continues to be a key part of our strategy and we are excited to now add YouTube to the X1 experience,” Strauss said in announcing the launch.

Current X1 and YouTube customers can access their personalized settings and subscriptions when accessing YouTube on X1. Both Google and Comcast touted the voice-activated features of the partnership, which let users launch the app simply saying “YouTube” and search for videos with spoken commands like “YouTube, show me make-up tutorials” or “Watch ‘Carpool Karaoke’ on YouTube.”

“We are excited to supercharge our distribution [in the living room] and bring Xfinity X1 users a seamless way to consume all of the content they love,” said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer. “Voice is a key enabler to discovery and we are looking forward to bringing it to Xfinity X1 users.”

A year ago, Comcast launched Netflix access on the X1 platform and the cable operator offers various other internet apps as well including Facebook, Instagram and Pandora.

In the big picture, it’s not clear that Comcast’s move to bring YouTube, Netflix and other internet content to cable customers will do much to counter the long-term trend of consumers cutting the cord on traditional pay-TV service. Comcast lost a net 45,000 residential video customers during the second quarter of 2017, to stand at 21.48 million video subs at the end of June (55% of whom had X1). Strauss, speaking at an investment conference last week, disclosed that Comcast expects to lose 100,000-150,000 video subscribers for the third quarter of 2017.

YouTube’s content will be woven throughout the Xfinity On Demand menu. For example, the “Entertainment” VOD section will include clips from popular YouTube creators, TV shows, movies, celebrities and highlights from late-night shows.

In addition, the “Music” section of Xfinity on Demand will include YouTube music videos and live streams from events and festivals such as the CMA Fest and American Music Awards. Local YouTube content in the VOD menu will include news, sports, events and emerging local artists from local markets across the country.

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