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Comcast's Matt Strauss on Building Video Momentum

Bucking a trend amplified by a small but growing cord-cutting trend and the popularity of over-the-top video options, Comcast just came off first quarter in which the MSO added 53,000 subs, its best Q1 video result in nine years.

A sizable portion of the credit goes to X1, Comcast’s IP-capable next-gen video offering, but, according to Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s executive VPand general manager, video services, the results are due to a confluence of efforts and initiatives that span not just the core product but also areas such as improved customer care.

Multichannel News technology editor and Next TV editor Jeff Baumgartner recently caught up with Strauss to discuss Comcast’s ever-expanding video strategy, including  X1, usage trends for mobile and TV everywhere applications, what’s next for the operator’s IP-delivered “Stream” product, some hints at the MSO’s ambitious plans for the Rio Games, and how Comcast is positioning itself as consumers continue to adopt new TVs that are capable of supporting 4K video and high dynamic range (HDR) formats.

The following edited transcript ran in two parts earlier in the week in Multichannel News dailies distributed at the INTX show in Boston.

Multichannel News: As you look at the second half of the year, what are your top priorities? 

Matt Strauss: We're really focused first and foremost on continuing to execute against the deployment of X1. We're seeing a lot of very positive benefits from X1, both on the churn and on the increased consumption side. We're now at about 35% penetrated, and it's even higher if you just look at triple-play subs -- about 50% of our triple-play subs now have X1. 

What goes hand-in-hand with that is that we also want to finish out the deployment of our cloud infrastructure. We've been deploying cloud across our footprint -- both cloud streaming and cloud DVR – and we are very close to getting 100% deployment. We want to finish that up by the middle-to-end of this year. 

Finally, we want to continue the penetration and usage of our products and services. We’ve got a very ambitious deployment for our new consolidated Xfinity app. With the upcoming Olympics [in Rio] we want to use that as an opportunity to shine a light on this new application, which we think is a tremendous value to our customers.

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