Netflix continues its push into the traditional pay-TV experience with news that a Netflix Comcast X1 integration is currently underway. Recode is reporting both companies have confirmed the Netflix Comcast X1 integration, although details have not been revealed.
A joint statement on the Recode site says “Comcast and Netflix have reached an agreement to incorporate Netflix into X1, providing seamless access to the great content offered by both companies. We have much work to do before the service will be available to consumers later this year. We’ll provide more details at that time.”
Netflix has been pushing for integration into traditional pay-TV platforms and set-top-boxes (STBs), that in theory, makes Netflix just another channel (or app as user interfaces are migrating to) like HBO or ESPN. Customers don’t have to switch TV inputs in these scenarios, making it a much more simple process to reach Netflix content.
Netflix has reached similar deals with much smaller tier 2 cable MSOs, primarily through the TiVo platform. DISH also has a similar Netflix integration.
Netflix Comcast X1 Integration
Comcast is the largest traditional cable MSO in the country (AT&T/DirecTV is the largest pay-TV provider), pushing these types of Netflix integrations into the mainstream. X1, Comcast’s latest IP enabled user interface (UI), is not in every Comcast home yet though. As of the end of 2015, X1 reached 35% of its footprint, and it’s expected to reach 50% by year end 2016.
Comcast and other pay-TV operators are motivated to show progress in OTT content integration. It’s of interest to customers for sure and makes traditional pay-TV offers more appealing. But it’s also of great interest to regulators. By doing these and other integrations, the pay-TV industry hopes to please regulators and persuade them for lighter regulatory oversight.
It’s interesting how the threat of regulations can motivate companies that were once at odds, to work together. Comcast and Netflix have a long colorful history of being on opposite ends of issues and intensely disagreeing with each other. But apparently they are now on the same page. Or in this case, the same UI.