Comcast Focuses on Connectivity

Months after it backed off on its pursuit of 21 Century Fox assets that were ultimately won by The Walt Disney Co., Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said the cable giant is focusing on connectivity, but can also play offense if the right M&A situation arises.

“Right now, I feel like we’re in a strategically great place,” Roberts said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference Wednesday. “Any deals we do we’re trying to play offense.”

Comcast touched of a bidding war with Disney for the Fox assets in June, and continued to up the ante until July, when Disney came back with a stock and cash offer valued at $71.3 billion. Comcast withdrew its bid for the Fox content assets, but it is still in pursuit of Fox’s U.K. satellite company Sky. 

“Yes we looked at Fox, not because we went looking for it, but because it came to market,” Roberts said. “I think ultimately, the same with Sky, the notion that that means you don’t love your core business just isn’t right. We proved that with our results, I hope.”

Roberts said Comcast’s focus is connectivity, a strategy he talked about on the company Q2 earnings conference call in July. Connectivity is basically focusing on broadband and Wifi services that hook customers to a diverse amount of content from several different sources, not just the cable company. Comcast has been a leader in that aspect, integrating Netflix and other SVOD apps on its set-tops and offering customers broadband-only connections. While Roberts said video is still a major focus of the business – as it has been for more than five decades – the source of content doesn’t matter as much as it used to.

“We don’t care whose content you watch, we just want you to watch it through our X1 experience and we’ll be a winner,” Roberts said. “We’re going to compete for video, but we’re going to compete for profitable video customers.”