The lines separating major television networks continue to blur, with cable company Comcast (CMCSA 1.52%) adding Hulu as a streaming option for its broadband internet customers using Xfinity Flex devices. Comcast owns television network NBC, along with movie studio Universal. Hulu is owned by Walt Disney (DIS 3.30%), parent to the ABC broadcast network and a host of cable channels. Disney also offers several direct-to-consumer streaming services, and Comcast is developing a streaming service of its own slated for launch in July.
Comcast's Xfinity includes a suite of consumer telecom services ranging from cable TV to internet to mobile phones, and more. The Flex device was unveiled a year ago as a way to offer an array of video content to consumers who only subscribed to the company's broadband service, reflecting the cord-cutting trend that has been propelled by the growing number of streaming video options.
Hulu isn't the first third-party streaming service that Comcast has made available to Flex users. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video were already options. Comcast's planned streaming service, Peacock, will also be accessible through Flex when it goes live.
Featuring rival entertainment companies' content may at one point have been viewed as a questionable strategy, but other cable TV and telecom providers are increasingly embracing it. Windstream Holdings now promotes Alphabet cable alternative YouTube TV, as do Verizon and Cincinnati Bell. Comcast's decision could be considered unusual, however, given the amount of video entertainment it can already offer viewers. The move also affirms the growing importance of being a top-notch broadband service provider, and the decreasing importance of television content itself.