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NCTC In Discussions with Comcast To License Xfinity Flex

Xfinity Flex
(Image credit: Comcast)

Looking to proliferate its Xfinity Flex platform on a national level, Comcast has engaged the NCTC in discussions that could lead to many of the cable cooperative's 700-plus member operators deploying the TVOS. 

"We're not far enough along where I could tell you what our level of adoption would be," NCTC CEO Lou Borrelli told Next TV in a Wednesday afternoon phone discussion. "But I can tell you that [Comcast] is very interested in our footprint."

The National Cable Television Cooperative, which is set to announce a new name for itself when it convenes its annual trade conference in Orlando next month, negotiates and consults its members, primarily smaller-market cable companies, on issues related to program licensing and technology. 

Veteran cable industry executive Borrelli, who took over the reins of the NCTC a year ago, leaving his chief executive position at Caribbean and Central/South America-centric telecom Digicel, has been steering the group, traditionally focused on TV program licensing negotiations, into more of a forward-looking technology leadership posture. 

As for Comcast, it’s on the move with its quest to transition Xfinity Flex beyond the Comcast Cable footprint and into a TVOS competing with Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google TV/Android TV as the gateway to the connected home. 

Last year, Comcast entered into an arrangement to power Hisense smart TVs with an OS based on Flex and sell them at Walmart under the name XClass TV. 

And in April, the No. 1 MSO enlisted the No. 2 U.S. company, Charter Communications, to form a joint venture to oversee the proliferation of the Flex-based TVOS, with Charter kicking in $900 million to the cause over the next five years. 

The addition of Charter creates a massive national footprint to distribute the TVOS. However, enlisting NCTC would provide a matrix of smaller markets to the cause that might otherwise not be as accessible. ▪️

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!