The streaming wars have a new player in town. Comcast and Charter, the two biggest cable companies, are teaming up for a new national streaming platform.
Charter and Comcast will launch a 50:50 joint venture to develop a next-generation streaming platform across various branded 4K streaming devices and smart TVs.
Between the lines
Comcast will license Flex, its aggregated streaming platform and hardware, and the retail business for its XClass TVs. The company will also contribute Xumo, the AVOD streaming service it acquired in 2020.
Charter will make an initial $900 million contribution, funded over multiple years.
“We’re 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 search and discovery across live, on-demand and streaming video seamless and incredibly simple for consumers,” said Dave Watson, CEO of Comcast Cable, in a statement. “This partnership uniquely brings together more than a decade of technical innovation, national scale and new opportunities to monetize our combined investment.”
The companies said that the products would feature hundreds of free content choices through Xumo, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock will also be on the platform “alongside other popular apps.”
“Our new venture will bring a full-featured operating platform, new devices and smart TVs with a robust app store providing a more streamlined and aggregated experience for the customer,” said Tom Rutledge, Charter chairman and CEO, in a statement. “As the video landscape continues to evolve, this venture will increase retail consumer options, compete at scale with established national platforms and join our existing lineup of options for the Spectrum TV App available on most customer-owned streaming devices.”
Comcast’s XClass TVs will be available through national retail partners and potentially directly from Comcast and Charter. In addition, Xumo will continue to be free through the joint venture’s products and third-party devices, and Charter will offer 4K streaming devices and remotes beginning in 2023.
The companies also said the new offering doesn’t involve either company’s broadband or cable video businesses.