Cable corporations and unveiled on Wednesday that they have formed a 50:50 joint venture "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 acquisition will offer app developers, streamers, retailers, and hardware manufacturers the opportunity to reach customers in major markets across the country. Founded on Comcast's Flex (streaming) product, which currently delivers all of the most-watched streaming apps in the marketplace.
Because cable operators have traditionally been restricted by technology to offering services in areas where they have deployed their infrastructure, the new venture's focus on nationwide services is crucial.
Comcast, led by chairman and CEO Brian Roberts, will license its aggregated streaming platform Flex and hardware to the joint venture, alongside contribution from Xumo, a streaming service that it acquired in 2020, and the retail business for XClass TVs. Charter will make an initial financial contribution of $900 million, funded over several years.
The partners said the business's products will "encouraging hundreds of free content choices" through Xumo, a free, ad-supported service currently employing over 200 unique streaming channels. Peacock, a streamer for NBCUniversal, will also be featured on the new streaming platform, "alongside other popular apps."
The joint venture "does not involve either Comcast or Charter, which will remain independent," the companies stated. The closing of the venture is "subject to conventional closing conditions," according to the groups.
We are excited to partner with Charter to develop this platform and its award-winning experience for millions of new customers, said Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson. These products are all designed to make search and discovery across live, on-demand and streaming video incredibly simple and easy for consumers. This partnership has unsurpassed technical innovation, national significance, and new opportunities to monetize our combined investment.
This initiative will increase retail consumer options, compete at scale with established national platforms, and add a new spectrum of options for the Spectrum TV App available on most customer-owned streaming devices.