Comcast Giving X1 Service to Broadband Subscribers

Embracing its growing number of high-speed internet customers, Comcast will give its broadband-only customers an X1 box and voice remote control and make its Xfinity Flex programming package free.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference Wednesday, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the object was to differentiate its broadband product from competitors.’

“Streaming is more friend than foe for Comcast,” said Roberts, adding that the company’s X1 video platform is “the best way to get video in the world.”

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit on Tuesday announced that the new streaming service it will be launching will be called Peacock, after NBC’s famed logo.

Peacock will be ad supported-- and Comcast will use its current relationships with customers and distributors to get quick penetration. It also called on Sky for expertise on direct-to-consumer streaming products.

Related: NBCU, Sky Combine on AdSmart Targeting Offering

Using Comcast and NBCU’s advanced advertising capabilities, Roberts said that going with an ad supported model--rather than a subscription product--offered the fastest path to profitability at the lowest cost.

Roberts noted that Comcast spends about $14 billion on content and that some of that content will be repurposed for use on Peacock.

Peacock will offer shows including The Office, Saturday Night Live and possibly the Olympics when it launches next year, Roberts said.

Roberts said that using X1 will make it easier for broadband customers to find the things they want to watch and identify which programs they have already have access to through the subscriptions they have to services including Peacock, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and Showtime.

Xfinity Flex, introduced last year provides viewers with 10,000 free TV shows and movies.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.