Comcast Makes New Play for Cord Cutters With Streaming Service

(Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp. is rolling out a new video-streaming service for customers who have abandoned traditional cable TV.

The service, called Xfinity Flex, will be sold to its internet-only subscribers for $5 a month, Comcast said on Thursday. The offering, which debuts on March 26, will come with more than 10,000 movies and TV shows, as well as ESPN3 and other networks.

The product is a low-cost version of X1, Comcast’s video platform for cable subscribers. For Comcast, Flex will make it easier for internet-only customers to upgrade to traditional cable TV service, since the equipment will already be in their homes. It also encourages subscribers to use their TV screens as a dashboard for all the devices in their home, including video, music and internet-connected appliances.

The rollout is the latest step in Comcast’s evolution from traditional cable-TV company into an internet provider. The Flex service may help keep customers loyal, even as they get their TV programming from a range of online sources.

“Xfinity Flex will deepen our relationship with a certain segment of our internet customers and provide them with real value,” Matt Strauss, executive vice president of Xfinity services, said in a statement.

The Flex service will come with a streaming device and dedicated remote control, letting viewers access apps for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and Showtime.

“It’s really about aggregating the experience within the content of these apps,” Strauss said on a conference call, adding that it’s for a “targeted segment that’s more internet-first, but wants to access video in a different way.”

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