Comcast’s business is huge, and ranges from laying cable and providing internet and phone service to making content at NBC Universal. In trying to create a simple, cohesive experience, CEO Brian Roberts is looking to Apple, which has done that better than anybody.
In a wide ranging interview with Fortune’s Geoff Colvin, Roberts revealed his driving vision. He wants to take lessons from Apple’s success and bring them to everything Comcast does.
When asked about how complicated TV’s become, here’s what Roberts said:
“Everything we could learn from what Apple has done so well is how to take really complicated things and make them simple, make them fun, make them beautiful and easy. As I think about where I’d like to see us go, it is absolutely to take this overwhelming amount of content choices — now with the Internet so many more choices — and make them personalised, make them easy to interact with and have anytime on any device.”
Perhaps more than any other industry, media has been transformed by the digital age. Comcast has its foot in every part of it, and a unique opportunity to create a seamless experience between someone’s television, devices, internet service, and the content they’re watching. All of that could provide a tremendous amount of useful data.
Roberts seems well aware of the opportunity. “If commerce and knowledge of your behaviour and your desire — with privacy very much top of mind — can make it easier to consume content,” hee told Colvin, “then that’s a winner.”
The fact that he mentions privacy shows that the company’s aware of its delicate position. Should data collection or advertising seem too personal or intrusive on any platform, they could easily lose any advantages it provides.
“Fun, beautiful, and easy” aren’t adjectives people tend to associate with their cable providers, so Roberts has set his company a lofty goal.