- Comcast announced it would launch a $US5-a-month aggregation service for its broadband customers.
- Xfinity Flex works similarly to Roku and will let customers integrate other streaming services they pay for, like Netflix or Amazon Prime, into one device.
- Flex seems aimed at deepening relationships with existing Comcast customers rather than acquiring new ones.
Comcast announced Thursday that it would launch a $US5-a-month aggregation service for its broadband customers March 26.
Named Xfinity Flex, the service will essentially offer the same capabilities as Roku, which costs about $US40 a month.
The way it works is, Flex customers rent a $US5-a-month 4K HDR streaming box, which lets them integrate other streaming services they pay for, like Netflix or Amazon Prime, and gives them access to 10,000 free programs, including live TV from ESPN3, Tubi TV, and Cheddar, said Matt Strauss, EVP Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable.
The apps included on the service leverage the existing integrations that exist on the Xfinity X1 video box, like HBO, Showtime, Pandora, and iHeart Radio.
Many of these services already are available for free on the internet other through ad-supported apps.
The service proves that the cable giant realises shifting priorities of many of its customers. Flex focuses on Comcast’s broadband subscriber base, which at more than 30 million customers, tops its video subscriber base of about 22 million.
“The internet is becoming oxygen,” Strauss said, explaining how essential the service is to Comcast customers. Flex is a way to engage with and improve the experience of broadband subscribers.
As with other Comcast products, Flex seems aimed at deepening its existing customer relationships rather than forging new ones. Xfinity Mobile, Comcast’s cellular service, also serves to increase customer satisfaction and improve broadband retention.
Comcast said it chose the $US5 monthly price tag because its research found not all customers want to outright own a device like Roku and instead prefer to rent out the service to see how it works. Flex also has the ability to use the voice control function of the X1 video platform.
The company envisions Flex as a “TV dashboard for the digital home” with xFi features like the ability to troubleshoot internet issues and check your broadband network.
Flex will not integrate other live streaming services, like DirecTV Now or Hulu with Live TV. People who want video service can upgrade to Xfinity cable service with one click within the platform, Strauss said.
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