Comcast, Verizon Beef Up Live Streaming

Facing heated competition from over-the-top video services and new “virtual” MVPDs (multichannel video-programming distributors) such as Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, two major pay TV operators — Comcast and Verizon Communications — have been ramping up the number of live TV channels available outside the home.

Comcast said Xfinity TV Go, its authenticated TV Everywhere app, offers more than 70 live TV channels after recent additions that include AMC, BBC America, Fox Deportes, Movieplex, Showtime, Univision Deportes and The Weather Channel.

While that’s about double the number of live TV channels offered on the TVE app about a year ago, it still represents a subset of the MSO’s full live-TV lineup. Comcast allows in-home streaming of its full TV lineup on the Xfinity TV app for the operator’s X1 service.

Comcast said TVE activity continues to rise, with more than 30% of Xfinity TV subs using the option each month and the average viewer consuming more than seven hours per month on Xfinity TV Go, up nearly 40% from the same time last year.

Verizon has also been pushing the envelope, announcing recently that its FiOS Mobile App now streams 88 linear TV channels out-of the home (and about 168 in the home) after adding 24 channels from Viacom, including BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV and Spike, among others. Those rights come by way of a new carriage deal between Verizon and Viacom announced last October.