Strong is in charge of Comcast Cable’s main profit center and the backbone for which its content services flow — Xfinity video, mobile and broadband. So far, Strong, who joined Comcast in 2018 after nearly two decades with Liberty Global where she held senior executive leadership roles, has risen to the challenge. Comcast reported the strongest quarterly broadband subscriber growth in its history, 633,000, in the third quarter, and signs all point to that momentum continuing.
Strong has been a big proponent of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program to bring low-cost broadband to low-income households. Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 8 million people with high-speed service.
“With learning looking very different this year across the country, we want to help give our educators the connectivity they need to support America’s youth during these unprecedented times,” Strong said in a statement.
Adding to broadband’s allure is Xfinity Flex, which gives broadband-only customers access to streaming services like Peacock, Hulu, CBS All Access, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Flex crossed 1 million devices deployed in May and has been a big part of overall broadband growth.
“Flex was designed to fit seamlessly into the lives of our internet-only customers,” she said in another statement. “We are thrilled our customers are quickly embracing this device on such a large scale.”
While broadband appears to have a lot of growth runway left, the mobile business also presents opportunity. Comcast launched Xfinity mobile in April 2017, and currently has about 2.6 million customers. In Q3, Comcast added about 187,000 Xfinity Mobile customers, but the company increasingly sees the service as a gateway to its other products.
During its Q3 earnings call, Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said Comcast wireless growth has been “material” for several quarters, despite closing down retail stores because of the pandemic. With those stores now reopened, and by bundling wireless with all of its products, not just broadband, Watson sees accelerated growth ahead.
“We’re already seeing, as we put our shoulder to bringing things back, some real early-stage success in terms of what mobile can do,” Watson said on the call.
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Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.