Amplifying its role as an aggregator of aggregators, Comcast is testing a new feature for its X1 platform that collects, surfaces and presents all of the premium channels and a growing mix of subscription VOD services that are available from the cable operator on top of the customer’s regular pay TV package.
Comcast said the “Manage Channels” feature is being tested with a subset of X1 subscribers, and that it offers another way to drive awareness to those services and a method for customers to access and manage them. About 55% of Comcast’s residential video subscriber base is on X1.
For customers that have access to the test, the Manage Channels option is accessible via the X1 Apps section and presents choices in rows for Premium Channels, Subscription On Demand Channels, Sports Entertainment Packages and International Channels. Customers can add services via the interface and see which ones they are already subscribed to.
Comcast is testing out Manage Channels as it continues to tack on SVOD services that can drive incremental revenues while using X1 to more firmly establish the operator as an aggregation point for those services.
“X1 has been a game changer for us…We’re an aggregator of aggregators,” Brian Roberts, Comcast’s chairman and CEO, said in February at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.
While customers are likely aware that Comcast offers premium services like HBO, Showtime and Starz, the new aggregation point highlights a growing mix of subscription VOD services that are also available.
That mix includes Gaiam TV ($6.99 per month), Up Faith & Family ($4.99), Filipino On Demand ($7.99), Stingray Karaoke ($6.99), Gaia ($9.99), Anime Network ($6.99), Grokker Yoga Fitness ($6.99), Here TV ($7.99), KidStream($4.99), Dog TV ($4.99), History Vault ($4.99), Lifetime Movie Club ($3.99), and AMC Premiere, a new commercial-free option that costs $4.99 per month.
OTT video options are also starting to enter the fray on X1. Comcast currently integrates Netflix, and has plans to add YouTube (including access to the YouTube Red subscription service) and Sling TV.
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