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Comcast Acquires Xumo Free-Streaming Video Service

Comcast announced that it has acquired Xumo, a free advertising-supported streaming service, from previous owners Panasonic and Meredith Corp.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast paid more than $100 million for Xumo, CNBC reported. Xumo will continue to operate as an independent business unit inside Comcast Cable, the company said.

Xumo offers over 190 free channels, grouped by genre, with live and on-demand streaming entertainment, news and sports — similar to ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV, the ad-supported video startup that Viacom acquired for $340 million last year and grew active monthly users 75% in 2019 to 22.4 million.

Xumo says it now has about 10 million monthly viewers, up from 5.5 million monthly active users as of the spring of 2019. In addition to generating ad revenue from Xumo, Comcast will be able to promote its own service offerings in the app — including the forthcoming Peacock service.

“The talented team at Xumo has created a successful, growing, and best-in-class set of streaming capabilities,” Comcast said in a statement. “We are excited for this team to join Comcast and look forward to supporting them as they continue to innovate and develop their offerings.”

Now overseeing Xumo is Rebecca Heap, senior VP of video and entertainment services for Comcast Cable. Xumo CEO Colin Petrie-Norris remains the head of Xumo, which has 55 employees.

Meanwhile, Comcast’s NBCUniversal is in active discussions about acquiring Walmart’s Vudu, which also offers a selection of free-streaming movies and shows.

The M&A activity in the streaming space by Comcast and NBCU comes as they gear up to launch Peacock, a streaming service that has a hybrid subscription/free model. Peacock is slated to be initially available to Comcast Cable customers April 15, with a U.S.-wide rollout in July.

Comcast’s discussions to acquire Xumo were previously reported by the Wall Street Journal. The owners of Xumo had been shopping it for months and had previously engaged in talks with prospective buyers including Sinclair Broadcast Group, Variety reported.

Comcast already has a commercial deal with Xumo: Last summer, the cable giant inked a pact to add Xumo’s app to Comcast Xfinity TV set-top boxes. Other platforms that distribute Xumo include Roku devices and smart TVs from Panasonic, LG, Vizio, Sanyo, and Hisense.

Xumo’s content partners include ABC News, CBSN, Fox Sports, A+E’s Law & Crime, Jukin Media, Just For Laughs, America’s Funniest Home Videos, USA Today, PBS Digital Studios, BroadbandTV’s Hooplakidz, Tastemade, Condé Nast Traveler and Bon Appétit, and Vice Media Group’s Refinery29.

Based in Irvine, Calif., Xumo was formed in 2011 as a joint venture between Panasonic and Viant Technology, an ad-tech and data analytics company that also owns Myspace. In 2016, Time Inc. bought Viant prior to media and publishing company Meredith closing its $1.85 billion deal for Time Inc. in early 2018. Meredith sold its equity ownership stake in Viant to founders Tim and Chris Vanderhook but had retained its stake in Xumo.

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