Comcast Makes Deal with Netflix to Add Them to X1

Posted by at 12:37 pm on July 6, 2016

comcast-x1-Comcast, the nation’s largest pay TV provider is working with Netflix to bring the streaming service to Comcast’s X1 cloud-based TV platform, making it easier for customers to watch Orange is the New Black and other streaming TV series. The deal is surprising because the two companies have been at odds in the past over issues such as data caps, delivery speeds and net neutrality.

Both companies released a statement Tuesday announcing their plans to collaborate and make Netflix’s streaming service available to Xfinity X1 customers later this year, promising “seamless access to the great content offered by both companies.

Xfinity is Comcast’s residential brand for pay TV, broadband and phone connectivity. X1 is its cloud-based TV platform, which began rolling out in 2012 and was in 30% of its 22 million-plus customers’ homes as of the end of 2015. The service lets users find content via a Web-like interface, receive personalized recommendations, use voice search and and stream content to devices. Integration of Netflix would likely include a Netflix icon within the X1 interface and a Netflix button on the TV remote.

The business deal was first reported by tech news site Re/code.

This isn’t the first time that Netflix has been incorporated into a pay-TV provider’s boxes. The streaming TV company has previously done deals with Dish Network, Frontier and TiVo boxes for RCN and Suddenlink, as well as arrangements with Bell Canada and U.K. providers BT and Virgin Media. Those U.S. homes with older residents are less aware of Netflix, they found in a survey, but are more likely to have pay TV and watch more TV than average, making them prime Netflix targets. And in the U.K., Netflix usage has grown on pay-TV services where it was integrated, they say.

Each side in such deals would give up some revenue — pay TV providers likely from their own pay-per-view sales and Netflix for access to pay-TV customers — but both would gain, too, they say. “Operators would pick up leverage over programmers on content costs,” they said. And, Netflix, for its part grows its subscriber base in a way that, they said, “we do not believe it would meaningfully alter the direction of Netflix profits over time.”

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