Beachfront - leaderboard - 7-1-18

Analysis for 'Comcast'

  • Comcast Releases Beta of Xfinity TV App for Roku

    Comcast has announced that its Xfinity TV app is now available for beta use on certain Roku streaming devices and Roku TVs, with broad rollout planned for later this year. The partnership was initially unveiled in April, 2016. The Xfinity app for Roku is the first deployment of the Xfinity TV Partner Program, which Samsung also joined.

    The “TV as an app” model means that Comcast subscribers will be able to get full access to linear and on-demand content plus DVR functionality via Roku, without having to take a Comcast set-top box, a first for the cable company. Comcast has positioned the Xfinity TV app on connected devices as beneficial for subscribers who want choices in how they access their subscriptions. The screen shot below shows a clean implementation reminiscent of what Comcast X1 users already see.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #353: Lots of Reasons to be Optimistic About Mobile Video’s Growth

    I’m pleased to present the 353rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    There are lots of reasons to be optimistic about mobile video’s upcoming growth and on this week’s podcast, Colin and I explore them. 2017 is setting up as a major year of change for mobile video, with numerous positive catalysts.

    These include wireless carriers zero-rating their video services and investing in content, mobile data plans becoming more flexible, cable operators entering the wireless market, Facebook emphasizing video, smartphones’ enhanced capabilities, a more conducive regulatory environment and much more. (Colin and I also wrote about these earlier this week here and here)

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  • As the iPhone Turns 10, Here Are 7 Reasons Mobile Video Is At A Tipping Point

    It was 10 years ago today that Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that even Jobs could have imagined how profound and far-reaching the iPhone’s impact would be. One short decade later, there is arguably not a single Internet application that hasn’t been impacted by mobile. Meanwhile, many new applications have been created solely as a result of the mobile phenomenon.

    Mobile video is certainly one application that was essentially created by the iPhone and subsequent smartphones. Watching video on smartphones is now a completely mainstream behavior, which countless millions of people engage with regularly. But despite mobile video’s already impressive growth, there are at least 7 reasons mobile video is now at a tipping point, with the biggest growth still ahead:

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #347: Facebook’s Video Ambitions

    I'm pleased to present the 347th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    On this week’s podcast we discuss Facebook’s video ambitions. Colin was in London at the OTT TV World Summit where he saw a fascinating presentation by Matthew Corbin, who’s in global product marketing for Facebook. Colin shares highlights of what he learned, including how Facebook thinks of itself as the “world’s discovery agent.” Matthew said Facebook thinks of itself “not as a broadcast network, but as a network of broadcasters,” which feels like an apt description. Combined with Facebook’s targeting capabilities, this translates to lots of potential.

    On Facebook’s Q3 ’16 earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also highlighted how he wants video to be at the center of all of Facebook’s apps and services. It’s becoming clearer that the primary way Facebook is going to be able to continue its torrid revenue growth is by shifting over more TV ad spending, hence the push toward video.

    After discussing Facebook, we shift gears and spend 5 minutes reviewing the excellent Comcast-Netflix integration which I wrote about earlier this week.

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  • Watch My Demo of Comcast X1’s Superb Netflix Integration [VIDEO]

    Comcast announced on Friday that the integration of Netflix into its X1 set-top box would launch this week. But when I checked my X1 on Friday evening it was already available, so I spent some time over the weekend giving it a test drive. Below is a 12-minute demo video I created that highlights the key benefits of the integration and how expertly it was done.

    As VideoNuze readers know, I’ve had the X1 since its debut, back in July, 2012. I was immediately enthusiastic about its clean and highly responsive web-like UI as well as its ability to quickly retrieve on-demand content. More recently, the voice-powered remote control has delivered even more value. But the biggest potential benefit I’ve always envisioned for X1 was its ability to handle IP apps, giving Comcast a breakthrough way to provide a seamless experience between its own video services and those delivered over-the-top via broadband (e.g. Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.).

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  • Comcast vs. AT&T: Succeeding in the Real World vs. Flailing in the Dream World

    If you want a vivid contrast of one company succeeding in the real world vs. another flailing in its own dream world, there’s no better example than what’s currently happening at Comcast vs. what’s currently happening at AT&T.

    With Comcast, which just reported its impressive Q3 ’16 earnings this morning, the company has not only devised a clever strategy for competing in a highly disruptive environment, but is also executing on it masterfully. Conversely,  AT&T is a company that has already made a backward-looking $50 billion acquisition of DirecTV, is trying to make a new $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner whose rationale its CEO cannot clearly explain and is now planning to launch a new $35/month DirecTV Now video service that is guaranteed to lose money and could do serious harm to the industry.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #340: Mobile Video Soars, With Big Changes Ahead in 2017

    I'm pleased to present the 340th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we return to the topic of mobile video, which we last discussed in June. Mobile video has reached a milestone, according to new Ooyala data, reaching nearly 51% of all video views, which is 10 times greater share than just 4 years ago.

    Mobile video has soared mainly due to the proliferation of smartphones. However monthly data caps have curbed mobile video, as users have learned how expensive exceeding their plans can be. This is why T-Mobile’s “Binge-On” has been so popular and why we’re now seeing the advent of other “zero-rated” services like DirecTV Now.

    But as Colin and I discuss, mobile video could get a big boost in 2017 as Comcast and Charter both announced this week they’ll enter the mobile business (here and here). Because they’ll be leveraging millions of their WiFi hotspots, they will likely be able to not only offer bigger data plans, but also charge subscribers less by bundling mobile phone with other services.

    (Note, one clarification - I said I didn’t know of any video service on Verizon Wireless that is zero-rated, but in fact Go90 is.)

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  • Apple is Still Spinning Its Wheels in Video While Big Competitors Hit Their Stride

    Last week’s Q2 earnings reports provided another valuable window into how Amazon, Comcast, Google and Facebook have all hit on winning formulas in video (at least for now), while Apple continues to spin its wheels, under-optimizing its ability to capitalize on the massive shifts underway in video and TV.

    To briefly review, Comcast lost just 4K subscribers in Q2, vs. a loss of 162K three years ago, as its sleek X1 set-top box gains further traction and satellite and telco competitors stumble. Facebook reported a blow-out quarter, with earnings of $2 billion, double what they were just 6 months ago. Facebook has become a mobile powerhouse and is now laser-focused on video, as Facebook Live becomes widely adopted (though still under-monetized).

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  • For Comcast, Another Quarter of Strong Improvement in Video

    Comcast reported its Q2 ’16 earnings this morning, once again showing strong improvement in video subscribers and keeping cord-cutting in check. The second quarter is always seasonally slow in the pay-TV business, but Comcast reduced its video subscriber loss to just 4K in Q2 ’16, its best performance in over 10 years. The trend in just the past 4 years is impressive; Comcast has steadily reduced its subscriber loss from minus 69K in Q2 ’15, minus 144K in Q2 ’14 and minus 162K in Q2 ’13.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #330: Comcast-Netflix is a Big Win; Video is a Hit for Amazon Prime Members

    I'm pleased to present the 330th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I were both very enthusiastic about news earlier this week that Comcast will integrate Netflix into its X1 set-top box, a move we’ve been advocating for a while. In this week’s podcast we discuss how complicated this negotiation must have been, and why joint subscribers will be the big winners.

    Surely a motivating factor for Comcast was the acknowledgment that viewers are spending more time on SVOD, which new research from IBM Cloud Video highlighted this week.

    More specifically, the research showed how important video has become for Amazon Prime members, with 75% of them now watching. By not charging for video in Prime, Amazon is potentially a big disruptor in the video/TV industry down the road.

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (24 minutes, 9 seconds)



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  • Viewers Are the Real Winners in Comcast-Netflix Integration

    Yesterday, Recode reported that Comcast will integrate Netflix into its X1 set-top box. Loyal VideoNuze readers know that I’ve been advocating for this type of partnership for almost two years, back to when I articulated the benefits in “Why the Timing is Now Perfect for a Netflix-Comcast Partner Deal” in October, 2014. There are lots of benefits to Comcast and Netflix by partnering (as I’ll further explain below), but the biggest winners once the integration is complete later this year, are the companies’ mutual viewers.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #323: Rio Olympics on X1 Will Be a Breakthrough Experience

    I'm pleased to present the 323rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    Colin and I were both very impressed by the demo that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts did at INTX earlier this week of how the X1 set-top box will blend linear TV and online video streams from this summer’s Rio Olympics into one experience.

    We both believe this will be a truly breakthrough viewer experience, showcasing X1’s broadband capabilities and the value of the two-way interactive network. We envision Comcast launching a massive marketing campaign in the months leading up to the Olympics highlighting how experiencing the Olympics will be “best on X1,” in turn driving new subscriber acquisitions and upgrades.

    More broadly, we discuss how valuable X1 and Comcast’s back-end infrastructure are as a platform for launching new features and services. We touch on how Amazon too is leveraging its platform for its Streaming Partners Program, underscoring the anticipated competition between big video platform owners. The role of a robust platform in determining the ultimate video winners is becoming increasingly clear.

    Listen now to learn more!

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    (Note: Comcast Wholesale is a VideoNuze sponsor)

     
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  • Understanding the Value of Platforms Given the Proliferation of Content [VIDEO]

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of moderating a super session at INTX 2016, the cable TV industry’s annual trade show. The title was “Is Content Really King? Understanding the Value of Platforms in a Crowded Video Space.” The session included Steve Shannon (GM, Content and Services, Roku), Evan Shapiro (EVP, Digital Enterprises, NBCU) and Matt Strauss (EVP/GM, Video Services, Comcast Cable).

    It’s no secret that there’s more great video to watch now than ever. That’s created challenges for viewers to find what they want and for content providers to fully monetize their ever-growing production investments. That’s why the role of platforms is increasing in importance.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #320: Comcast is Firing On All Cylinders As X1 Shines

    I'm pleased to present the 320th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    As both Colin and I wrote this week (here and here), Comcast delivered very strong video and broadband subscriber gains in Q1 '16. Despite all of the rhetoric around cord-cutting and the fact that SVOD services - which were considered a potential substitute for pay-TV - have boomed, Comcast had its best first quarter in 9 years, adding 53K video subscribers vs. a loss of 8K subscribers in Q1 ’15.

    As Colin and I discuss on the podcast, Comcast is benefitting from weakening competition, its own investments in product/content/user experience, and triple-play bundling, powered by broadband adoption. As has been the case for a couple of years now, the X1 set-top box, now in 35% of video subscribers’ homes, continues to be the linchpin in video, driving up ARPU, VOD and DVR usage, reducing churn, etc. In an era of rising viewer expectations, X1 delivers a superb, differentiated, web-like experience.

    Given all of the above, I think Comcast has a strong outlook at least through 2016 if not beyond. Colin is a little less sanguine and we discuss our differences.  

    Listen now to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 4 seconds)



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  • Comcast Defies Cord-Cutting (Again), Reporting 53K Video Subscriber Growth in Q1 ’16

    Comcast is on an epic roll. Despite years(!) of cord-cutting warnings by the blogosphere and analysts, Comcast once again proved the naysayers wrong, adding 53K video subscribers in Q1 ’16. It was the best first quarter in 9 years for the company and easily eclipsed the loss of 8K subscribers in Q1 ’15.

    The Q1 gain builds on the strong year Comcast recorded in 2015, losing just 36K subscribers vs. a loss of 194K in 2014. Remarkably, Comcast now has 25K more video subscribers that it did one year ago (22,400K vs. 22,375K).

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  • Comcast-YES Network Standoff Puts Sports Rights Fees Back in Focus

    The never-ending tussle between pay-TV operators and sports TV networks over escalating carriage fees is back in focus due to the standoff between Comcast and the YES Network, which has the rights to broadcast New York Yankees games, among others. Comcast dropped YES last November, leaving approximately 900K of its New York area subscribers without access to YES. With the Yankees’ opening day one week from today, the standoff is going to gain much more attention.

    As with other sports TV carriage disputes, this one boils down to money and audience. Comcast is arguing that YES’s demand for a reported $6 per month per subscriber isn’t justified given its ratings. Last November Comcast said that over 90% of its subscribers didn’t watch the equivalent of even one quarter of the 130 games YES broadcast in 2015. Nielsen said that YES averaged 250K viewers in 2015, a decrease of 44% vs. its peak of 450K in 2007.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #309: Cable Operators Buck Cord-Cutting; FCC’s Set-Top Box Mandate

    I'm pleased to present the 309th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    First up this week we discuss Comcast’s robust Q4 ’15 earnings results. Despite all of the talk of cord-cutting, Comcast had its best year for video subscribers in 8 years, improving its loss to just 39K. In addition, both Charter and Time Warner Cable actually reported video subscriber gains for 2015.

    Once again, Comcast cited its X1 next-gen set-top box as the key driver of success. Colin and I have talked about X1’s value in the past, and it’s clearly a game-changer for the company.

    Ironically, Comcast’s success with X1 is happening even as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is calling for a new technology mandate on the pay-TV industry to give access to third-party set-tops. Colin and I discuss why we think market forces are a superior choice to government intervention.

    Last, we’ll both be watching the Super Bowl this weekend, which will be a milestone in allowing cord-cutters and cord-nevers to stream for free to connected TV devices.
     
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  • Despite Acceleration of Cord-Cutting, Top Analyst is Bullish on Cable in 2016

    Cord-cutting accelerated in 2015. Once again, It dominated headlines about the pay-TV industry, portending its imminent demise, as SVOD awareness and original content investments skyrocketed. But despite all of that, top Wall Street analyst Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson (who has participated in many VideoNuze events) issued a bullish note this morning on cable TV operators’ prospects in 2016.

    Craig’s analysis highlights the subtleties of the pay-TV industry’s dynamics that are too often glossed over in generic media coverage about cord-cutting’s ascent. The nub of his argument is that while the overall pay-TV industry is indeed pressured in many ways, cable operators’ distinct product and technology advantages vs. its primary competitors (satellite and telcos) have led to cable operators taking market share, helping insulate them from macro issues.

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  • VideoNuze Podcast #296: YouTube Red is Ho-Hum, Cable TV Earnings Defy Cord-Cutting

    I'm pleased to present the 296th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.

    This week we discuss our first impressions of YouTube Red, and then turn to Q3 earnings reports from top cable operators, which are defying cord-cutting.

    For YouTube Red, Colin and I agree that the service’s primary value proposition of ad-free viewing is diminished by the fact that the ad experience on YouTube is already quite viewer-friendly and non-intrusive (as I wrote last week and yesterday). Further, the download feature, which could be quite appealing, is underwhelming on iOS, though it’s slightly better in Android. Net, net, neither of us sees much upside for YouTube Red, at least for now.

    We then turn our attention to Q3 earnings from 3 big cable operators, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter. Each has reported very strong video subscriber results, bucking the cord-cutting paranoia. Colin notes that for Comcast, broadband profit contribution actually exceeded video’s profit contribution. I see the combination of cable’s robust broadband and hybrid set-top boxes like X1 as the key to ongoing success.

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  • Comcast Defies Cord Cutting in Q3 ’15, Losing Just 48K Video Subscribers

    Comcast continued to defy the cord-cutting boogeyman in Q3 1’5, losing just 48K video subscribers, compared with a loss of 81K in Q3 ’14 and a loss of 127K in Q3 ’13. Comcast said it was the best third quarter for video subscribers in 9 years.

    Once again, Comcast attributed the improvement mainly to its X1 set-top box, which is now in one-quarter of video homes and accounted for 60% of video connects in Q3. On its earnings call, Comcast noted X1 subscribers have lower churn, use VOD and DVR more heavily and subscribe to more additional outlets than non-X1 subscribers. As a result of X1’s success, Comcast has increased its deployment, now installing 40K X1s per day, compared with 30K per day in Q2. Comcast also said it has deployed 1.5 million voice remotes which further enhance the X1 experience.

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