Comcast and Charter team up to launch new streaming platform for US consumers – TechCrunch

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The American cable TV giants have a new plan to claim their right in the streaming wars. This morning, Comcast and Charter announcement they will partner to develop a streaming platform based on Comcast’s Flex and including its free Xumo streaming service, which they will bring to consumers nationwide through new devices and smart TVs. The 50/50 joint venture will see Comcast license Flex, bring its retail business for XClass TVs and contribute to Xumo, a streaming service offering more than 200 free channels which it acquired in 2020. Charter, as to him, will make an initial contribution of $900 million. to the joint venture, financed over several years.

The companies say their next-gen streaming platform will be offered on a variety of branded 4K streaming devices and smart TVs – an effort that would put the offering in more direct competition with other device vendors. streaming services that are eating away at cable TV’s market share today, like Roku and Amazon. The carriers also promise consumers that the platform will include “world-class user experience and navigation”, as well as all the best apps viewers have come to expect.

Because the new platform is based on Flex, it will be able to deliver on its promise of applications. Flex offer already today access to top streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV+, YouTube, Starz, Cinemax and more, plus music services like Spotify and Pandora.

Picture credits: Comcast Flex

Of course, the inability of cable TV providers to innovate in user interface design in years past was one of the many factors that led so many American consumers to cut the cord with traditional pay TV. first, alongside their desire to reduce costs and demand. for pay-as-you-go access to programming – something that choosing from streaming apps can provide. And while Comcast’s Flex, spear in 2019 helped solve these problems, it entered a market late in life where other streaming device makers had already established their respective customer bases.

Today, Roku and Amazon dominate the market share of connected devices in the United States, where the two companies are tied with a share of around 36%, according to the most recent data from Parks Associates (via CNBC). Apple TV and Chromecast trail at 12% and 8%, respectively, and everyone else in the “other” category has a 6% share.

This new joint venture shows how the cable cut trend has become a major concern for traditional pay-TV providers. An eMarketer provide estimates that by 2024, more than a third of US households (46.6 million) will have cut the cord with pay TV, up from 24.6 million in 2019.

Comcast, in a announcement, says XClass TVs with the new streaming platform will be sold through national retail partners and potentially direct to consumers by itself and Charter. Charter will then start seeing 4K streaming devices and associated voice remotes from 2023.

In the meantime, Comcast will continue to offer its Flex streaming platform and Xumo — the latter will continue to operate as a free service through the joint venture’s products and third-party devices, it says. The two companies’ broadband and cable video businesses are not part of that venture and will remain independent, they said.

“We are thrilled to partner with Charter to bring this platform and its award-winning experience to millions of new customers. These products are all designed to make searching and discovering live, on-demand and streaming video seamless and incredibly simple for consumers,” Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said in a statement. “This partnership uniquely brings together more than a decade of technical, nationwide innovation and new opportunities to monetize our combined investment.”

“Our new company will bring a complete operating platform, new devices and smart TVs with a robust app store to deliver a more streamlined and aggregated experience for the customer,” added Tom Rutledge, President and CEO of Charter. “As the video landscape continues to evolve, this company will increase retail consumer options, compete at scale with established national platforms, and join our existing suite of options for the Spectrum TV app available on most customer-owned streaming devices.”

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