Two words sum up why Matt Strauss was an obvious choice for the 2011 B&C Digital All-Stars list: TV Everywhere. In recent years, Comcast has been arguably the most aggressive of all cable operators in rolling out TV Everywhere services to offer its subscribers more content on more devices. The Comcast Interactive Media division headed by Strauss has been at the center of this effort.
As part of that push, Comcast already offers authenticated subscribers more than 185,000 programs online at its XfinityTV.com, with plans to top the 200,000 mark by year-end. The more recent Comcast mobile offering, which launched late last year with an iPad app, now delivers more than 7,000 shows from about 30 programmers to a variety of Apple, Android and other devices.
Making more TV programming available on demand has long been a signature of Strauss’ career. After working for Disney/ABC right out of college in the early 1990s, he moved to Cablevision in the late ’90s, where he was involved in some of the cable industry’s first on-demand efforts and oversaw the launch of Mag Rack in 2001.
In 2004, he moved to Comcast, where he helped build out its VOD platform and Internet properties, including Comcast.net, XfinityTV.com and the company’s interactive platforms.
While there has been some resistance among programmers to providing rights to multiplatform delivery, Strauss expects that to change as measurement improves and programmers are reassured that their ratings won’t be cannibalized by online and mobile delivery.
“When we started moving in the direction of TV Everywhere, we realized that measurement would be important, and we’ve been working with Nielsen for years on this,” Strauss says.
That effort recently paid off with the launch of combined ratings for linear TV, DVRs, VOD and online for programs with the same ad loads. While mobile ratings are still a ways away, Comcast is planning a trial with Nielsen later this year to measure the mobile platform.
Less obvious, but very important for the success of the effort, Strauss’ team at CIM is now overseeing all the user interfaces across platforms so that they will have a similar look and be easier for subscribers to use.
These cross-platform efforts also extend to close cooperation between CIM, Comcast’s national engineering and technical operations and the video product development teams. “It has really been a company-wide effort to look at this in a very cohesive way,” Strauss says.
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