Comcast Hints at Broader Plans for Xfinity Flex

Xfinity Flex
(Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast said it’s looking for ways to expand its Xfinity Flex OTT platform beyond its footprint of high-speed internet homes. 

“There are opportunities, including smart TVs, that could leverage scale,” said Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, during the cable giant’s Q4/full-2020 earnings call Wednesday. “Right now, it’s looking great in our footprint, but we’re making plans beyond that, whether it’s a device or software solution.”

Comcast offers the Flex device for free to its broadband-only users. And there are more of those than ever. Comcast said it added another 538,000 high-speed internet customers in the fourth quarter, and 2 million for all of 2020. Meanwhile, customers who also pay for a full-featured pay TV service from Comcast dropped another 248,000 in Q4.

Flex delivers popular over-the-top apps, including Netflix, HBO Max—and soon, Disney Plus—in a voice-controlled interface that shares many of the same features found in Comcast’s flagship X1 video platform. 

Importantly, Flex has been an important early driver to Comcast/NBCUniversal’s nine-month-old streaming service, Peacock, with Comcast internet customers getting the robust $4.99 iteration of the service for free on their Flex devices. 

Comcast is particularly excited with the advanced advertising schemes it has been able to implement on Flex for various NBCU properties, including Peacock and AVOD platform Xumo, acquired last year. Certainly, having a streaming world controlled by Roku and Amazon doesn’t fit that agenda. 

Comcast has already had discussions with entities including Walmart about shipping TV’s powered by the X1/Flex OS. 

“I think we’ll have more to talk about throughout the year,” added Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!