Looking to differentiate while broadening its relationship with content partners, Comcast has teed up its first slate of exclusive original content for “Watchable,” the free, ad-based OTT service introduced last fall.
Watchable’s new focus on exclusives is kicking off with three short-form, original series from Refinery29, mitú and Cut.com. Another batch of six originals series from Cut.com, CollegeHumor, PopSugar, Studio71 and BuzzFeed Motion Pictures will be launched in the coming months (see list below for more details).
Adding exclusive content to the mix was a “natural” step for Watchable as it looked to differentiate while also deepening its relationship with content partners, Jamie Gillingham, vice president of strategic development at Comcast.
Comcast isn’t disclosing the financial terms of its exclusive content arrangements for Watchable.
“The way we’ve been approaching it is that it’s about the idea first,” Craig Parks, VP of programming for Watchable, said, noting that Comcast was pitched on more than 400 concepts and ideas for its new exclusives initiative.
Watchable is currently available to all via mobile apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Web browsers, as well as on the set-top for Comcast pay TV subs who are on the MSO's X1 platform.
Comcast also has not revealed a lot of user data for Watchable, but Gillingham noted that the average session time for Watchable on X1 is more than 30 minutes. Watchable’s traffic on mobile platforms have been growing at a rate of 40% per month thanks in part to Comcast-led promotions and those delivered through content partners.
Watchable currently offers about 350 shows and has roughly 60,000 videos under management, with most episodes in the four-to-nine minute range.
More about Watchable’s strategy around exclusive content will be featured in the Next TV section of the August 29 issue of Multichannel News.
The video below offers a snippet of three original series from Watchable that debut today: Ballin’ on a Budget; Cholos Try; and How to Human.
Watchable’s Exclusive Slate
Watchable is introducing three exclusive series today:
-Ballin’ on a Budget (Refinery29): Series features comedienne and rapper Awkwafina, who takes to the streets of New York to show viewers how to live the high life on a low budget.
-Cholos Try (mitú): This series from the digital-first media focused on young Latinos is a new, longer-form of the popular online series that follows four “Cholos” from East L.A “who go out of their comfort zone and immerse themselves in cultures and lifestyles across America.”
-How to Human (Cut.com): This part how-to/scripted comedy series takes irreverent look into the many ways people can improve our lives, with a focus on a young woman who is “learning the true meaning of ‘ failing forward.’”
Watchable will also premiere a handful of additional exclusives in the coming months:
-Knock Knock (PopSugar): Series features fashion designer Rachel Antonoff taking the audience inside the homes, offices, dressing rooms, and other intimate spaces of people such as Saturday Night Live star Aidy Bryant, veterinarian Dr. Jan Pol, and designer Lisa Frank.
-I Want My Phone Back (CollegeHumor): An on-the-street game show series with host Alana Johnston and a cast of improvisers take to the streets of Los Angeles to see if contestants will put
their mobile devices in the hands of total strangers, for up to $1,000.
-100 Years of Beauty (Cut.com): Based off the YouTube series, Cut.com will present a new how-to makeup and hairstyling series that teaches viewers how to create contemporary looks inspired by celebrated historical figures such as Frida Kahlo, Billie Holiday, and Imelda Marcos.
-Logan Paul VS (Studio71): Features social media star Logan Paul as he takes on “potential life-threatening challenges,” including wrestling a bear, Navy Seal training, bull riding, and wilderness survival.
-Would You Rather (Cut.com): Series explores how one might pick between two difficult choices such as dealing with narcolepsy or insomnia, or having to survive an AI uprising or a Zombie Apocalypse.
-Am I Doing This Right? (BuzzFeed Motion Pictures): BuzzFeed star and comedienne Kelsey Darragh takes on the art of “adulting,” otherwise known as “growing up.”