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Rogers Sees ‘Soft Launch’ of X1-Based Video Platform by Early 2018

Rogers Communications execs shed more light on the anticipated rollout timing of a new IPTV service that will be powered by Comcast’s X1 platform.

“We're targeting a soft launch early next year,” Rogers president and CEO Joe Natale said Thursday on the company’s Q2 earnings call, noting that the plan is to start with lab and employee trials, followed by a “full launch.”

RELATED: Rogers to Tap Comcast’s X1 Platform for IPTV Shift

“It's important we do this well. It's important that we have not just a high quality product, but a very customer-friendly set of processes and how we market sale support fulfil and deliver on the experience. For us is the game changer.”

One thing Rogers hopes the new platform will change is the trajectory of its video sub base.

Rogers lost 25,000 video subs in Q2, ending the period with 1.77 million. Comcast, which will post Q2 numbers on July 27, has been riding X1 to pay TV subscriber gains in recent quarters. 

Cox Communications and Shaw Communications have also launched video products that rely on X1 syndication deals. Shaw saw its video base increase by 12,921 subs during its fiscal Q3 period. 

RELATED: Shaw Expands BlueSky TV Across Western Canada

Rogers CFO Tony Staffieri said the aim is to get CPE costs associated with the rollout, including labor costs, to below $400 per home, noting that IP-capable boxes lend themselves well to a self-installation model.

For Q2, Rogers posted flat cable revenues of C$870 million, and a 3% rise in adjusted operating profit.

Rogers added 11,000 high-speed internet subs, for a total of 2.18 million, with 46% of residential subscribers taking a speed tier of 100 Mbps or greater. It ended the quarter with 4.26 million homes passed.

Overall revenues rose 4% in Q2, driven largely by wireless service revenue growth of 8%.