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Comcast, Charter to Partner on New ‘Next-Generation’ Streaming Platform Combining Flex, Xumo, and XClass TVs

Matt Tamanini

In a major announcement on Wednesday, the United States’ two largest cable companies announced that they were joining forces on a 50:50 joint venture to launch a new streaming platform in hopes of streamlining and simplifying the process of streaming for their customers.

According to the two companies, Comcast and Charter Communications will partner to “develop and offer a next-generation streaming platform on a variety of branded 4K streaming devices and smart TVs, providing consumers with a world-class user experience and navigation, all the top apps and more choice in the streaming marketplace.”

The new platform will see Comcast license its Flex streaming aggregator operating system and hardware — which provides Xfinity cable customers access to all of the most popular streaming apps on the market — as well as the company’s free, advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) service Xumo, and the retail business for XClass TVs.

Charter will make an initial financial investment of $900 million over multiple years. The yet-to-be-named venture will offer more than 200 free streaming channels via Xumo’s existing AVOD service and NBCUniversal’s multi-tiered subscription video-on-demand (SVOD)/AVOD hybrid platform Peacock will be included amongst hundreds of other apps as well.

This move should significantly increase Peacock’s reach from the 24.5 million active accounts that it reported following the fourth quarter of 2021, only 9 million of which were paid accounts.

By entering into the tvOS marketplace, Comcast and Charter will now be in direct competition with Smart TV manufacturers and operating system providers like Roku, Amazon Fire TVs, Samsung TVs, Google TVs, VIZIO, and more.

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

This new partnership between Comcast and Charter will not include aspects of either company’s broadband or cable video business, but will instead focus on making the process of streaming easier for the two cabler’s combined customers while providing an enhanced AVOD experience.

“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. “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.”

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