Charter CEO Excited for Launch of ‘Fantastic’ Xumo Streaming Joint Venture with Comcast
Technology, media, and telecom conferences are excellent opportunities for media executives to share updates about their companies, or even just their cherished corporate pet projects. The Morgan Stanley TMT conference was held earlier this week, and it gave Charter Communications CEO Chris Winfrey a chance to provide some updates on his company's joint streaming venture with Comcast.
The new service, which will adopt the Xumo Play brand from Comcast’s current free ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported TV (FAST) platform, is still in development. But judging from Winfrey’s reaction to the preview he saw at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the new Xumo is coming along nicely.
“I was meeting with the Xumo team at CES, and I walked out with the Charter and the Comcast team,” Winfrey said. “I said, ‘This product is so great. It’s fantastic. It’s what I want on every single one of my television sets.’”
Winfrey also gave a bit more insight into what the product will entail than had previously been discussed. In addition to a subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, the new Xumo Play will be a live TV streaming service, with Charter cable options available to users who want them.
“What Xumo gives us the ability to do is a fully integrated app and live video experience for customers all in a single place with the very best that Comcast has to offer together with our Spectrum TV app to the extent somebody wants to take video,” the CEO said. “And to provide utility to customers whether they want to take traditional live video or not, and we can be more agnostic on that. I think Xumo is really good for consumers. It’s what I want.”
Xumo will also be a streaming aggregation service that houses all of a user’s streaming apps in one place and provides viewers with a single bill every month, instead of multiple individual charges to their account from the various services they subscribe to. Winfrey’s comments echoed the excitement of former Charter boss Thomas Rutledge, who believed the new service would become a major player in the industry. Winfrey said he was excited about the flexibility the service will offer users who might want to access live channels from Charter.
“Xumo will be the principal way that we deploy our video product when somebody takes video from us,” he said. “They can come in and out of those services. They can upgrade. They can downgrade, and Xumo will still have that relationship with the different apps. And we’ll still have the ability to service the customer for live video to the extent their wallet permits it.”
Winfrey did not put a date on when he thought the new Xumo Play would be available, but Charter is certainly hoping it’s soon. The cable provider lost nearly 700,000 subscribers in 2022, and it will need a way to recoup those revenue losses somehow. Winfrey knows the writing is on the wall for pay TV, considering his words at the conference.
“[Cable’s] become too expensive for many people,” he lamented. “And so yes, we’re the best-performing video operator in the market, I think, but we’re still losing. And I don’t see that changing.”
His company’s cable losses might not be reversing themselves any time soon, but Winfrey’s high hopes for the new Xumo platform are apparent. Now, users must continue patiently waiting for word about the service’s development and a potential launch date.
Xumo Play is a free video streaming service that includes on-demand access to several movies and TV shows. Xumo Play offers 290 free virtual channels, including those focused on reality TV, vintage TV, and game shows.