Comcast said Tuesday that it is updating its mobile viewing app, Xfinity TV Go, to allow subscribers to watch popular channels such as CNN, Fox News, Disney Channel, CNBC, ESPN and FX on the go.
Subscribers will be able to watch 35 live TV channels on their Apple and Android devices outside their homes, as long as they have a Wi-Fi connection. Previously, the nation's largest cable operator allowed subscribers to watch live feeds only on its website from a computer, or on mobile devices for special events like last year's London Olympics.
Comcast Corp.'s update, expected in the coming days, comes as TV ratings provider The Nielsen Co. plans to incorporate mobile viewing into its TV ratings starting next fall.
Access to live TV channels has been limited on mobile devices, partly because content owners have been reluctant to grant rights on platforms whose audiences aren't measured by firms like Nielsen. The lack of such measurement meant that networks risked losing advertising revenue if viewing shifted from TVs to mobile devices.
However, with mobile ratings less than a year away, the timing was right to launch now, according to Matthew Strauss, Comcast's senior vice president of digital and emerging platforms.
"There's a high penetration of these devices, customers are more comfortable watching on mobile and we're comfortable Nielsen now has the mechanism in the next few months to be able to measure this," Strauss said.