During today’s Deutsche Bank Investor Conference, Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh reported that Comcast is effectively using streaming video to reduce broadband churn.
Broadband is now the core product for Comcast and other traditional video providers, helping drive overall revenue and profitability. Broadband is generally more profitable than video, and with the ongoing shift to streaming video, broadband providers are looking for ways to leverage that behavior for the benefit of their broadband business.
For Comcast, the centerpiece of that strategy is the streaming platform Flex, a streaming device that’s an alternative to Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV devices. Comcast provides Flex for free to its broadband customers. Comcast reports it has 3 million Flex boxes deployed.
It appears to be paying off. According to Cavanagh, Comcast sees 15% to 20% less broadband churn from broadband-only subscribers who have the Flex platform, versus broadband-only customers who do not.
“We see 15 to 20% reduction in churn for a broadband customer only with Flex versus a broadband customer without,” said Cavanagh. “That’s what we wanted to see, that’s what we are seeing.”
The 4K-capable Flex platform provides access to Netflix, Prime, Hulu and the like for streaming services, but also is a window into other Comcast video services through the Xfinity Stream App , allowing customers to upgrade. It also features voice control and integration with Comcast’s smart home applications through Xfinity Home.
It does have some limitations though. Users can’t download video apps to the platform, so you only get access to what Comcast puts on the platform.
For Comcast, there is more to Flex than trying to reduce broadband churn. There have been some rumors that it is exploring expanding the reach of the Flex platform outside of its footprint, perhaps even licensing the technology to other service providers. That’s a path Comcast has successfully employed with Flex’s big brother, the X1 platform.
Cavanagh also noted that Flex is a marketing and monetization platform for the company as well.
“It then becomes a platform to do more. Obviously we are a marketer of services for a variety of streaming services,” he said. “If you’re a big streaming service, you look at the success we’ve had with some of the leading streamers out there, integrating them and helping them sell their products, I think we increasingly look at the lens for monetization of that type of activity.”