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Comcast Eyes X1 as SVOD, VOD Aggregator

19 Aug, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Comcast’s pending direct-access of Netflix is not the only third-party content source the nation’s No. 1 cabler envisions for X1 set-top subscribers.

Speaking at the Nomura Media, Telecom and Internet confab, Marcien Jenckes, EVP of consumer services at Comcast, contends the pay-TV ecosystem has “lost sight” of creating an aggregated experience that enables subscribers to movies, current and catalog TV shows from a single source.

Comcast has heretofore shown reluctance in offering direct-access to Netflix and other SVOD services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Jenckes was asked where in the timeline the cabler was in creating a “Holy Grail” of sorts integrating X1 with SVOD, linear, YouTube, among other sources.

During the ongoing Rio Olympics, Comcast subsidiary NBC has made linear, on-demand and Web content from the Games available to subscribers based on their distribution channel — with positive results. Nielsen data shows Olympics ratings within Comcast homes is 19% higher than in homes with an alternative premium TV provider.

“No matter what the content source is, we package it together in a way that's easy for [a sub] to consume. The idea with Netflix is to do something very similar … and then I think down the line we should also expect to add other sources of content as well,” Jenckes said.

Comcast had about 25,000 on-demand programs five years ago — a tally that has grown to more than 200,000 today. While the cabler had about 50 TV series with on-demand access to every episode only a few years ago, now it has complete episodes available to more than 700 programs — including the top 100 Nielsen-rated shows.

“The degree that content sources are available in the marketplace … to make it easier for our customers to find them no matter where they are, almost source-agnostic, can only be beneficial to the overall ecosystem,” Jenckes said.

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