Brian -oberts

Comcast CEO Reveals Beta Testing of Netflix Access for X1 Subscribers

by Cate Lecuyer  |  09.20.2016

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts praised the cable giant’s deal to begin featuring Netflix on its X1 interactive operating system before Thanksgiving, and revealed plans for beta tests of the SVOD service.

Customers subscribed to both services will be able to stream Netflix shows from an app on Comcast’s set-top boxes, adding the ability to watch live, on-demand, DVR and Netflix programming all through a single interface.

“Our organization has made the conscious decision that we are going to aggregate other people’s content, some of which we will sell directly and some of which we don’t,” Roberts told investors while demonstrating the service during a conference organized by Goldman Sachs.

The two companies announced the agreement in July, ending years of disputes where they didn’t “see eye-to-eye,” Deadline reports. It’s still unknown how they will divide revenue from subscription sales.  

RELATED: Netflix Soon to be Available via Comcast Set-Top Boxes

Netflix already has similar deals with Apple TV, Roku and Google’s Chromecast, providing an app that allows Chromecast users to stream Netflix on a variety of devices. The Netflix app also is present on many smart TVs.

The deal should help Comcast compete with other TV providers that offer the Netflix app on their platform, while Netflix should be able to grow its domestic subscriber base by offering access via Comcast.

Roberts suggested the agreement could serve as a template for future Comcast partnerships with other video streaming platforms. He also revealed plans for Comcast to launch a mobile service by mid-2017—adding it’s something the company is often asked about. It would require limited infrastructure investments by leasing airwaves from Verizon Communications and utilizing its 15 million WiFi hotspots.

“We will have more to say next year,” he told Variety. “There is a lot to do. We have retail locations. We have many customer interaction points. We want to do it right and do it well.”

The rollouot of Netflix beta testing also comes on the heels of Comcast’s $3.8 billion acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, with Roberts mentioning the success of film, and opportunities for Comcast to sustain recurring businesses across the company.

RELATED: Comcast Closes on $3.8 Billion Deal to Buy DreamWorks Animation

Overall, Comcast is “experimenting,” especially when it comes to bundled programming, and is focusing more on subscriber needs and customer experience, Roberts told Deadline.

“I don’t think anybody,” he said, “has the scale or the focus or the 10 years of innovation and cultural pivot that our company has had almost anywhere in the world.”

READ MORE: Deadline, Variety

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