Charter Communications and Comcast are join forces to develop a whole new streaming platform and hardware to deliver 4K streaming content.
The two companies made it clear in the announcement that it was a “50/50 joint venture” with equal stakes, as each involved significant resources. The companies’ broadband and cable businesses will not be part of this joint venture and will remain separate.
Comcast will bring its Xfinity Flex platform and hardware, the retail side of XClass (made by Hisense) and Xumo TVs to the table. For those who don’t know, Xumo is an Internet TV service that Comcast acquired in 2020. Basically, it’s free online TV.
Charter is contributing $900 million that will flow in over the next few years to fund the entire enterprise. It will also start offering 4K streaming devices and voice remotes next year.
The plan, as they presented, is that Xfinity Flex will serve as a starting point with Xumo as the free TV option. XClass TV will be supported by both companies for better customer service as they push these TVs and their platform to market.
The as yet unnamed platform will have big services like Netflix and Hulu with Peacock appearing to be a major focus.
The companies also clarified that Xfinity Flex and Xumo will remain independent, so if you’re already a watcher of the two, you won’t have to buy any additional hardware.
Looking at the deal, Comcast and Charter appear to be planning an aggressive strategy, and with good reason as they face fierce competition.
Roku, for example, is a juggernaut in the streaming industry that consistently receives rave reviews from users and critics. In fact, he recently announced an exclusive deal with Lionsgate to stream Nicholas Cage’s new movie when it comes out.
Other services also see the writing on the wall. Paramount is investing over $6 billion in streaming in hopes of getting a slice of that pie.
Good luck to the Comcast/Charter duo. A recent study by Leitchtman Research Group found that Comcast lost 407,000,000 cable subscribers in the third quarter of 2021. Perhaps this plan can help keep both companies afloat.