Dave Watson Talks about Video Streaming and its Prospects

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The XFINITY® X1 platform is usually associated with Comcast’s premium and expensive cable bundles as well as high-end equipment. However, the cable giant may be considering ways to expand it to other devices. The Chief Executive Officer of Comcast Cable®, Dave Watson, said the video platform is expandable and that it can get “deeper into other profitable segments.”

Watson said, “We’ll look for ways to extend X1 into more broadband-focused segments over time.” That means the XFINITY® video experience could be enjoyed on less pricey hardware solutions, which may have a more easy time reaching other similar segments.

The Comcast Cable® CEO also wanted to clarify that the whole video category is extremely competitive in a few different ways. However, he said to the extent that XFINITY® X1 is well positioned in the market, as a video platform for aggregating many different video offerings.

“If I’m a direct-to-consumer video provider, I’d want to be on X1. We’ll think about those applications over time. But at the same time, because of all this consumer choice, we’re just not going to chase video. We’ll stay very centered on broadband, package video where it makes sense and do that properly,” Watson added.

When asked about the video net add trends, instead of giving specific guidance, he warned that the marketplace will stay tough and competitive. He made it clear that Comcast Cable® is “not going to chase unprofitable video segments.”

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In the most recent quarter, the cable cum fastest internet provider brought down the net video customer losses to 29,000, which was a marginal improvement over the number of subscribers it lost a year ago. However, after factoring in 2018 fourth quarter results, the company lost 370,000 video subs in all, which was more than the subs it lost a couple of years ago.

As per Leichtman Research Group, the cable operator ended last year with around 22 million video subs. As the company navigates disruptions in its video distribution business, its NBCUniversal (NBCU) business is preparing to roll out a hybrid ad-supported, and subscription video, streaming service next year.

The Comcast® offering will draw on the content library of NBCU, in addition to licensed content as well as original programming. The streaming service will be made available in the US and international markets for free. Sky and Comcast Cable® will offer it to their combined subscribers, which exceed 50 million.

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